Municipal invocation policy challenge moves to federal court

KENAI — A lawsuit challenging a Kenai Peninsula Borough policy that restricts who can give invocations at assembly meetings is moving to federal court.

The case originally was filed in state court by the American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska. The organization is representing two Kenai Peninsula residents who say the assembly’s policy is discriminatory.

To deliver an invocation under the policy, one must be a member of a religious organization with an established presence in the borough or a chaplain serving fire departments, law enforcement agencies, a hospital or similar organizations in the community.

The Peninsula Clarion reported that an attorney representing the borough sought the move to federal court, which was approved Monday.

That attorney, Kevin Clarkson, says the borough had the option to have the case moved since it involves constitutional issues.

Joshua Decker, executive director of the ACLU of Alaska, said he had no comment on the move.

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