LAFAYETTE, Ind. — A federal appeals court has ruled that a northwestern Indiana county’s policies controlling the use of its courthouse grounds violate the First Amendment.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana sued Tippecanoe County’s commissioners after they rejected a request by a group that supports legalizing marijuana to rally outside the courthouse.

The suit filed on behalf of Higher Society of Indiana Inc. said the commissioners had a “closed forum” policy allowing them to decide who uses that space.

The Journal & Courier reports ( ) a three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously Wednesday that the commissioners’ controls violate the First Amendment. The ruling upholds a federal judge’s December injunction on the controls.

ACLU attorney Ken Falk called Wednesday’s decision “a victory for free speech” and citizens.

Information from: Journal and Courier,