Bloomfield, NM launches GoFundMe page for help with legal fees
The city of Bloomfield owes the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) lawyers close to $500,000 and is asking the community to help pay. A GoFundMe fundraiser was launched on August 13 asking for help to raise $467,000.
The city of Bloomfield, New Mexico, put up an illegal Ten Commandments monument outside of a municipal building. It was put up for religious reasons in 2011. Multiple courts ruled the monument to be unconstitutional. Despite this, city officials fought back while the ACLU told them it would be unwise to do so as the law is clear on the issue. In February 2018, they could not file any more appeals which meant they owed the ACLU $700,000.
In June, a proposed budget was released taking the major payment into account. The budget shows that the city estimates $12.5 million in revenue while the 2019 preliminary fiscal year budget called for $12.2 million in expenditures and for the payment of $233,000 towards the Ten Commandments lawsuit. The city was also given the option of whether they’d like to pay the entire amount by 2021 or make three payments. The city chose to make payments, which means that 1.9% of the city’s budget will be spent paying off their legal bills.
Many people do not feel sad for them as they have said the city made the decision to promote Christianity instead of following the law. This means they need to deal with the consequences of that decision.
The city’s GoFundMe page states that the city is asking concerned citizens to help crowdfund the remaining balance which they owe for their legal bills. The statement ends with the city saying that they appreciate any the support private citizens can offer.
The city was represented by a nonprofit law firm called Alliance Defending Freedom. The firm represented the city for free throughout the entire litigation process. The legal fees for the ACLU will be paid by the city as the courts have ruled against the city of Bloomfield. Many residents of Bloomfield were represented by the ACLU who said that the monument violated rights protected by the First Amendment.