Court rules NY town's prayer violated Constitution

Court News Posted on

An upstate New York town violated the constitutional ban against favoring one religion over another by opening nearly every meeting over an 11-year span with prayers that stressed Christianity, a federal court of appeals ruled Thursday.

In what it said was its first case testing the constitutionally mandated separation of church and state, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled the town of Greece, a suburb of Rochester, should have made a greater effort to invite people from other faiths to open monthly meetings. The town's lawyer says it will appeal.

From 1999 through 2007, and again from January 2009 through June 2010, every meeting was opened with a Christian-oriented invocation. In 2008, after residents Susan Galloway and Linda Stephens complained, four of 12 meetings were opened by non-Christians, including a Jewish layman, a Wiccan priestess and the chairman of the local Baha'i congregation.

Galloway and Stephens sued and, in 2010, a lower court ruled there was no evidence the town had intentionally excluded other faiths.

A town employee each month selected clerics or lay people by using a local published guide of churches. The guide did not include non-Christian denominations, however. The court found that religious institutions in the town of just under 100,000 people are primarily Christian, and even Galloway and Stephens testified they knew of no non-Christian places of worship there.

Legal News Media

Legal News is the top headline legal news provider for lawyers and legalprofessionals. Read law articles and breaking news from law firm's across the United States to get the latest updates. We reserve the right, at our discretion, to change, modify, add, or remove portions of the site at any time. Your This site is solely for your personal use. You are, of course, welcome to print or otherwise copy material from this site for your personal use. However, you may not distribute, exchange, modify, sell or transmit anything you copy from this Site, including but not limited to any text, images, audio and video, for any business, commercial or public purpose. Any unauthorized use of the text, images, audio and video may violate copyright laws, trademark laws, the laws of privacy and publicity and civil and criminal statutes.

 

American Bar Association – Start and Run a Law Firm

NewYorkStateBar.com – Starting a Law Firm

Lawyer Website Designs