Noah's Ark theme park files lawsuit against state of Kentucky

by Tom Anstey | 06 Feb 2015

The Noah’s Ark theme park denied more than US$18m (€14.4m, £11.5m) in tourism tax credits because of its hiring procedure, has filed a lawsuit against the state of Kentucky for what the park alleges to be ‘religious discrimination’.

In December, state tourism officials pulled the tax incentives for Ark Encounter on the basis that the park refused to hire people based on religious criteria. The state said the plans had evolved from a tourist attraction into ‘a ministry seeking to advance religion’.

The US$18m incentive – to be split over a decade – was denied after the park’s parent company, Answers in Genesis (AiG), said it would only hire people who believed in the biblical flood.

"What they've done in effect is engage in viewpoint discrimination. They have decided to exclude this organization from a tax rebate program that's offered to all applicants across the state," said AiG’s attorney Mike Johnson.

Despite the loss of incentives, the park in Williamstown, Kentucky, is still on track to open in 2016. AIG had been planning to use the tax incentives to help fund additional development on the park’s attractions. Aside from the ark, the 800-acre attraction is set to feature a recreation of a village prior to the biblical floods, as well as a Tower of Babel housing an audio-visual effects theatre and a ride that will give visitors the chance to explore the 10 plagues of Egypt.

A spokesperson for Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear said a copy of the lawsuit had not yet been reviewed and the office had no comment. The lawsuit was filed in US District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, Central Division at Frankfort.

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The Noah’s Ark theme park denied more than US$18m (€14.4m, £11.5m) in tourism tax credits because of its hiring procedure, has filed a lawsuit against the state of Kentucky for what the park alleges to be ‘religious discrimination’. In December, state tourism officials pulled the tax incentives for Ark Encounter on the basis that the park refused to hire people based on religious criteria. The state said the plans had
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The biblical theme park has been denied more than US$18m tax credits based on the religious requirements of its hiring process
/ AiG
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