Monday, January 07, 2013

Court Dismisses DOJ's Claim Against FLDS Towns Alleging Non-FLDS Members Were Denied Access to Zoo and Park

As previously reported, last June the Department of Justice filed a religious discrimination lawsuit in federal district court in Arizona against two neighboring towns, Colorado City, Arizona and Hildale, Utah.  The twin towns have been dominated by the polygamous sect, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In United States v. Town of Colorado City, Arizona, (D AZ, Nov. 29, 2012), an Arizona federal district court dismissed, with leave to amend, one of the Justice Department's claims-- that Hilldale violated Title III of the 1964 Civil Rights Act by denying equal access to a park and a zoo. 42 USC Sec. 2000b permits the Attorney General to sue when anyone has been denied, on the basis or race, religion or national origin, "equal utilization of any public facility which is owned, operated, or managed by or on behalf of any State or subdivision thereof." It was claimed that non-FLDS members were denied equal access to the park and zoo, whose title was held by the FLDS United Effort Plan Trust.  The court concluded that the government had not set out adequate facts to show that the privately owned property was operated or managed by the city of Hilldale, as required by the statute.  The United States subsequently informed the court that it does not intend to file an amended complaint. The court however refused to dismiss claims against the two cities alleging violations of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act and the Fair Housing Act. KUTV News reported on these developments last Thursday.