The court held that two British Columbia transit systems' bans on political advertising on their bus fleets violated Canadians' right to free speech. Lamar previously relied on contract language with Canadian transit systems that it felt allowed it to reject atheist ads (it also rejected pro-life Christian ads). Lamar's logic is that the ads attract vandalism.
But Lamar did not have that excuse in Alabama recently, when it outright rejected a client that wanted to run the message "Imagine No Religion" alongside a freeway. Lamar general manager Tom Traylor said he rejected that ad because "It was offensive to me." The court ruling in Canada would appear to mean that if the atheists go back to Lamar to buy bus ads in the North, then Lamar will have to come up with another excuse not to run them. Lamar's sales are down 13 percent this year.
- See BNET's previous coverage of religious advertising:
- Lamar's Religious Management Would Rather Lose Money Than Sell Billboards to Atheists
- Lamar Refuses to Lower Billboard Prices, Making It Ever More Dependent on Legal Strategy
- Sotomayor Once Ruled in Lamar's Favor in Billboard Case
- Lamar Lobbies to Keep Taxpayer Subsidies for Billboards in S. Dakota
- Lamar Sues Detroit Over "Unconstitutional" Billboard Fees
- Lamar, CBS, Clear Channel Ban Obama Birth Certificate Billboards
- Lamar Takes Down Billboards That Criticized Israel
- Christians Strike Back Against Atheist Advertisers
- Christians Complain About Ads That Say "There's Probably No God"