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Judge rules for cheerleaders in Bible banner suit

HOUSTON — A judge ruled Wednesday that cheerleaders at a Southeast Texas high school can display banners emblazoned with Bible verses at football games.

State District Judge Steve Thomas determined the Kountze High School cheerleaders’ banners are constitutionally permissible. In a copy of the ruling obtained by Beaumont station KFDM, Thomas determined that no law ‘‘prohibits cheerleaders from using religious-themed banners at school sporting events.’’

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The ruling ends the case in Thomas’s court, but it can be appealed by the school district.

The dispute began during the last football season when the district barred cheerleaders from using run-through banners that displayed religious messages, such as ‘‘If God is for us, who can be against us.’’

The Liberty Institute, a Plano, Texas-based nonprofit law firm, represented the cheerleaders and argued the girls’ free speech rights were being violated by the school district’s ban.

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