ATLANTA (AP) — Organizers of an anti-gun violence protest have filed a federal lawsuit questioning Georgia's policy requiring certain events held at the Capitol be approved by a top elected official.
The lawsuit filed Monday said the policy — which requires weekend and after-hours events held at Liberty Plaza across from the statehouse to be approved by one of Georgia's seven constitutional officers — violates the First Amendment by blocking a planned March 24 rally.
That policy gives the governor "complete, unbridled and unreviewable discretion" to pick which rallies are approved, the lawsuit said, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The lawsuit comes just weeks after state officials cut power to a gun control rally at the Capitol, saying organizers lacked proper permits
Steve Stancil, executive director of the Georgia Building Authority, who oversees the approval of such events, said the group's bid for a permit had not been denied. Stancil said they were only asked to follow the same guidelines as other groups, including that they make arrangements for portable bathrooms and pay the necessary security fees.
Gov. Nathan Deal waded into the debate Monday evening, saying on twitter that he had "directed the Georgia Building Authority ... to find a pathway to accommodate the March 24 request while maintaining the integrity of the permitting process."