Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Good News Clubs Challenge California's Requirement That Schools Charge For Space Used For Religious Services

The Good News Clubs filed suit in federal district court on Monday challenging the constitutionality of California Education Code Secs. 38131(b)(3) and 38134(d) which together require schools to charge an amount at least equal to direct costs for use of school space for religious services, but make charging of fees discretionary when school space is used by other civic groups.  The complaint (full text) in Child Evangelism Fellowship, Inc. of West Orange County v. Buena Park School District, (CD CA, filed 11/19. 2012), alleges that the school district's regulations that allow use without charge of school space by nonprofit organizations organized to promote youth and school activities, but not to the after-school religious activities of Good News Clubs amounts to unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination, as well as infringing free exercise, equal protection and establishment clause rights. The American Center for Law and Justice issued a press release announcing the filing of the lawsuit.