Thursday, July 21, 2022

San Francisco Permit Requirement For Park Church Services Enjoined

In Stewart v. City and County of San Francisco, California, (ND CA, June 22, 2022), a California federal district court issued a preliminary injunction barring enforcement of a provision in the San Francisco Park Code requiring a permit for any religious event held in a public park involving 50 or more persons. The court found the provision to be a content-based restriction that triggers strict scrutiny, and concluded that it violates free speech and free exercise protections. However the court upheld a provision requiring a permit for events utilizing sound amplification equipment. Plaintiffs hold their weekly church services in public parks.