Friday, November 09, 2007

Federal Court Rejcts Attempt To Bar NJ Civil Rights Proceedings

In Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association of the United Methodist Church v. Vespa-Papaleo, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 82577 (D NJ, Nov. 7, 2007), a New Jersey federal district court applied the Younger abstention doctrine, refusing to enjoin an investigation by the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights of a discrimination complaint filed by a lesbian couple. The Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association refused to permit the couple to use its Boardwalk Pavilion for their civil union ceremony. (See prior posting.) Under the Younger doctrine, federal courts have discretion to abstain from exercising jurisdiction where their judgment would interfere with an ongoing state proceeding. The Association will be able to raise its constitutional objections in the state administrative proceeding. The New Jersey Star-Ledger covers the court's decision.