Members of the International Keystone Knights of the KKK who applied to GDOT's Adopt-a-Highway program along a one-mile stretch of Ga. 515 in Union Co. (from left) Harley Hanson, April Chambers and an unidentified member.
ATLANTA -- The ACLU Foundation of Georgia filed a lawsuit on behalf of the International Keystone Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (IKKK) Thursday afternoon.
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The lawsuit, filed in Fulton County Superior Court, stems from the rejection of the Klan trying to join the Adopt-a-Highway program.
The KKK sought to adopt a stretch of highway in Union County. The ACLU says the Georgia Department of Transportation's decision "violates the free speech and due process rights guaranteed by the Georgia Constitution."
"The fundamental right to free speech is not limited to only those we agree with or groups that are inoffensive. The government cannot pick or choose who is protected by the Constitution," said Debbie Seagraves, executive director of the ACLU Foundation of Georgia.
"I am a firm believer in the First Amendment which guarantees us 'freedom of religion, speech, and the press; rights of assembly and petition.' But let us be clear. This is not about Freedom of Speech," State Rep. Tyrone Brooks, president of the Georgia Association of Black Elected Officials, said in a statement. "If they are sincerely interested in cleaning highways then it should not matter whether they get name recognition for doing so."
According to GDOT, the application was rejected because of "the group's history and the potential impact to motorists driving on that stretch of highway."