Thursday, March 03, 2011

Suit Challenges Prayer At Vermont Town Meeting

The ACLU of Vermont reported yesterday that it has filed suit in state court on behalf of a resident of Franklin, Vermont challenging the town's practice of incorporating a Christian prayer as part of the annual town meeting at  which town officers are elected and other public business conducted. The complaint (full text) in Hackett v. Town of Franklin, (VT Super. Ct., filed 3/1/2011), alleges that the prayer violates Chap. I, Art. 3 of the Vermont Constitution that provides no person can be compelled to attend any religious worship contrary to dictates of conscience. The complaint also alleges that the invocation violates the state's public accommodations act by refusing to permit plaintiff to avail herself of the town meeting on equal terms with others because of her religious beliefs.  The ACLU's website includes audio recordings off the prayers at issue. WCAX yesterday reported on the lawsuit.