Alabaster responds to Seventh-Day Adventists lawsuit - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Alabaster responds to Seventh-Day Adventists lawsuit

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A copy of the federal lawsuit against the City of Alabaster filed by the South Central Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists. A copy of the federal lawsuit against the City of Alabaster filed by the South Central Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists.
ALABASTER, AL (WBRC) -

The City of Alabaster issued a statement today denying the allegations of a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court by a group of Seventh-Day Adventists.

The South Central Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists is suing the City of Alabaster over two ordinances they say restrain their rights for free speech while going door-to-door in the city.

The opening paragraph of the lawsuit states, "The City of Alabaster has enacted an absolute ban on door-to-door sales, and has restricted all other forms of solicitation and expression unless those wishing to engage in such religious, charitable or other such protected discourse first register with the City -- not just once, but twice-- pay the required license fees, disclose their personal identity and a variety of personal information, and provide numerous burdensome and irrelevant details regarding their past and future speech."

According to the lawsuit, one of the ordinances is considered a business license ordinance and requires a license granted by the City of Alabaster to conduct any business or vocation within city limits. The other ordinance is a solicitation permit ordinance required by the City of Alabaster "in order for solicitation to be lawful."

The Seventh-Day Adventists say one of the plaintiffs mentioned in the lawsuit was stopped by an Alabaster police officer on June 27 and charged with selling books door-to-door without a permit. The group says their teams of church members, usually college students, participate in a summer student missionary program from early June to mid-August and offer free literature about the Seventh-Day Adventist faith, engage in verbal evangelism and solicit donations to help with the program's evangelistic purpose.

The Seventh Day Adventists filed the lawsuit on Friday, July 13. [Click here to read a copy of the lawsuit here.]

On Monday, the City of Alabaster responded with a statement from the city's attorney Jeffrey Brumlow. [Read the full statement here.]

His statement says in part:

"Both Alabama state law governing door-to-door charitable solicitation, and the ordinances of the city governing the same, have been and will continue to be applied neutrally to all individuals and groups who solicit sales and charitable contributions door-to-door within the city, as well as paid solicitors for nonprofit organizations and groups. The city does not and will not tolerate any form of discrimination against any group or individual on any basis."

Brumlow's statement goes on to say that while the city does not comment on the specifics of pending litigation, it does deny the allegations in the lawsuit and will file a formal response.

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