Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Suit Over Use of Civic Center For Religious Worship Is Settled

A joint consent decree (full text) was filed yesterday in a South Carolina federal district court in Redeemer Fellowship of Edisto Island v. Town of Edisto Beach, South Carolina, (D SC, Aug. 19, 2019), settling a lawsuit over restrictions on the use of the Edisto Beach Civic Center.  The decree reflects the town's action rescinding its prohibition on renting out space in the Civic Center for “religious worship services.” The town also agreed to pay $3112 in damages plus plaintiff's attorney's fees. As explained in a press release from ADF:
Shortly after the lawsuit began, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a statement of interest in the case in favor of the church. The lawsuit argued that the town’s previously amended guidelines were inconsistent and amounted to viewpoint discrimination—allowing some groups “to engage in singing, teaching, social interaction, and similar expressive activities” at the center while denying “access to those groups that engage in those same activities from a religious viewpoint.”