ELKHORN, Wis. (AP) – An anti-abortion group has accused the Walworth County Fair Foundation of discriminating against it for denying its request for a booth at this summer’s fair.
Peter’s Net, which describes itself as promoting Catholic teachings, accused the fair of not letting the group return this year because of its religious and anti-abortion views, the Janesville Gazette reported.
The group’s attorney sent a letter to the fair foundation seeking a response by Wednesday. Fair spokeswoman Susan Pruessing said the foundation received the letter Tuesday and had no immediate comment.
Peter’s Net had a booth at last year’s fair, but the letter said fair officials cited three reasons for not letting the group return:
- A previous exhibitor had first claim on the booth because the exhibitor had been there for several years. Peter’s Net only got the space last year because the exhibitor had to skip the event due to a family matter.
- Staff members with the fair received at least one complaint about the booth.
- The group’s booth had fetal models similar to models at the Pregnancy Hot Line booth, and the fair reserves the right to refuse one organization if it duplicates another.
The group’s letter called the reasons “unpersuasive” and “unlawful discrimination.” It said Peter’s Net’s right to religious speech gives it the right to educate the public on religious practices and beliefs.
The letter also described what it said was one patron’s reaction to the booth and the fair’s subsequent reaction.
The mother of a 7-year-old boy complained to fair officials that a Peter’s Net booth volunteer gave her son a 2-inch model of an 11-week-old unborn baby as a game prize, the letter said. Along with the model were cards explaining fetal development and listing abortion statistics.
Fair staffers told volunteers to only give the models to adults, but that prevented the group from reaching its target audience of teenage girls, the letter said.