Archdiocese of Washington Sues DC Transit System for Banning Their Christmas Ads

The Archdiocese of Washington is suing the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) - the agency responsible for the city's metro system - for rejecting a Christmas ad. Our Find The Perfect Gift initiative seeks to remind people of the well accepted, joyful spirit of the season.

The words on the advertisement invited readers to "Find the Perfect Gift" and providing a link to their website for those who are interested in Catholic traditions.

As for the Christmas ads, the archdiocese says it hopes the U.S. District Court for Washington, D.C., will issue an injunction and order accept the ads for this Advent, which begins December 3. "This is the simple one, just for Metro", the spokesperson said.

The ad shows a group of shepherds walking up a mountain and encourages Metro and bus passengers to visit a church this Christmas season.

'In 2015, WMATA changed its advertising policy to prohibit issue-oriented advertising, including political, religious and advocacy advertising.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the WMATA in August over its advertising guidelines on behalf of three parties - Carafem, Milo Worldwide LLC, and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals - charging that it violated freedom of speech, according to WTOP-FM.

He said the ad was submitted in late October to the agency that manages W.M.A.T.A. advertisements, Outfront Media, which rejected it within 24 hours. But if Christmas means a little bit more, WMATA plays Grinch, ' he added.

Since 2015, the Archdiocese and WMATA have clashed over the advertising guidelines.

"Jesus is the flawless gift", the website says. The Archdiocese did not propose an ad to be featured by WMATA again until the 2017 Christmas ad.

Kim Fiorentino, the Archdiocese of Washington's chancellor and general counsel, said that the archdiocese believes the ad rejection was a clear violation of fundamental free speech and a limitation on the exercise of our faith.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is now suing WMATA for rejecting ads from Carafem, Milo Yiannopoulos, and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

Paul Clement of Kirkland & Ellis LLP, counsel to the Archdiocese, said the metro's "rejection of the Archdiocese's speech amounts to a violation of the First Amendment, plain and simple". Unsurprisingly, the archdiocese explained that it "could not conceive of a way to adjust the advertisement given the objective and message of the campaign".

  • Wendy Palmer