Frankfort, Kentucky — February 5, 2015. The Center for Religious Expression (CRE) along with co-counsel, filed a federal lawsuit today against Kentucky officials on behalf of Answers in Genesis (AiG) and subsidiaries, developers of the Ark Encounter theme park in Northern Kentucky, for unconstitutionally denying them an opportunity to participate in the state’s tax rebate incentive program set aside for tourist attractions. Though the program is supposed to be available to all qualifying projects seeking to build in the state, AiG’s application was rejected due to its religious identity and message.
The theme park will include a full-scale model of Noah’s Ark and promises to bring millions of tourist dollars to the Commonwealth of Kentucky. But after Kentucky granted preliminary approval of incentives in 2014 for AiG, atheist and secularist organizations exerted a tremendous amount of pressure on state officials to rescind the approval. Anti-Christian groups objected to the religious nature of the project.
CRE and co-counsel spent many months trying to reason with state officials to avoid litigation, but to no avail. Succumbing to the pressure, state officials announced a reversal on December 10, 2014. The lawsuit is filed to restore AiG’s religious freedom and to assure that their theme park will be treated like any other tourist attraction in Kentucky.
CRE Chief Counsel, Nate Kellum explains, “We must protect AiG’s religious freedom. When such an unconstitutional state action goes unchallenged, it sets a dangerous precedent for us all.”