MULVANE, Kan. — Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund sent a letter Thursday to the head of the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission, asking them to delay a final decision on approving a new casino in Mulvane. ADF attorneys are asking the commission to wait until all concerned citizens are no longer denied the right to express their opinions on the casino’s impact.
On May 22, ADF attorneys filed suit in federal court on behalf of a Christian woman who was thrown out of the city council chambers when she tried to express her concerns.
“Christians shouldn’t be punished for expressing their beliefs,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Joel Oster. “The government has no right to harass and threaten citizens for exercising their First Amendment rights in public. Nevertheless, citizens who wished to express their legitimate concerns about the impact of the new casino have been threatened, silenced, and in one case, even removed from a government hearing on this important issue.”
On Jan. 16 and March 13, the Mulvane City Council heard presentations by Harrah’s and MGM/Foxwoods Development Company with regard to the construction of a casino in the city. When Mulvane resident Jacque Farnsworth tried to address the city council to share her concerns during the time set aside for public comments, she was told by the mayor that her question was out of order. When she asked why, she was escorted out of the meeting by two armed police officers. Other residents expressing concerns about the casino were allegedly silenced as well.
In the letter, ADF attorneys notified the gaming commission of the pending lawsuit: “Because the City has pursued this matter by silencing the opposition, even to the point of removing a dissenter by armed guard simply for presenting an opposing viewpoint, the Commission should not allow a casino in the Mulvane area until further hearing can be held as to the true desire of the community.”
The full text of the letter sent to Stephen Martino of the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission can be read here.
ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.