OKLAHOMA CITY – The ACLU is speaking out after a district court upheld an Oklahoma City ordinance involving access to medians.
In November of 2017, the Oklahoma City Council approved a change to a controversial ordinance involving medians.
The change made it illegal for people to stand on medians along streets with speed limits of 40 miles per hour or higher.
City leaders say safety was the main reason behind the change, but the ACLU disagreed.
The organization filed a lawsuit, alleging the restriction to median access was unconstitutional.
On Wednesday, the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma ruled that the ordinance is constitutional.
"The court concludes that public safety is a legitimate governmental interest and that the median ban is rationally related to that end. Therefore, the court rejects plaintiffs' challenge to the Ordinance based on the Fourteenth Amendment," the ruling states.
Following the court's decision, the ACLU released the following statement:
“Today’s ruling is merely the initial step on our path of protecting the First Amendment rights of our clients and all Oklahoma City residents. The District Court gets the first, but not the last, word on the constitutionality of the City’s anti-panhandling ban. We are disappointed by the Court’s ruling today but feel confident that the free speech rights of our plaintiffs and other Oklahoma City residents--from panhandlers to journalists to political advocates--will be vindicated on appeal. We look forward to having our arguments heard in the Federal Appeals Court and are prepared to fight for our clients each step of the way.”