Washington D.C., Jul 31, 2018 / 14:01 pm
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority was within its rights to ban the Archdiocese of Washington's religious-themed advertisements, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled Tuesday.
In November 2015, WMATA issued 14 new guidelines for acceptable advertisements on its busses and trains. Guideline 12 expressly prohibited "advertisements that promote or oppose any religion, religious practice, or belief." These new guidelines came out after someone attempted to purchase an advertisement featuring an image of Muhammad.
This past December, WMATA rejected a bus advertisement from the Washington archdiocese that directed people to a website for its "Find the Perfect Gift" campaign. The website contains Mass time information, basic information about Christmas and Advent traditions, and had links for various Catholic charitable organizations. The ads were rejected due to their religious content.
The court initially sided with WMATA in the ban, and the Court of Appeals heard the case in March. Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who is now nominated for the Supreme Court, appeared to be in favor of the Archdiocese during arguments.