Tuesday, April 06, 2021

Suit Claims Enforcement of Deed Restriction Against Synagogue Violates Religious Exercise Rights

Suit was filed late last month in a Texas federal district court against the City of Houston seeking to block it from enforcing a deed restriction against a small Orthodox synagogue that meets in a house zoned only for residential use.  The complaint (full text) in TORCH (Torah Outreach Resource Center of Houston) v. City of Houston, Texas, (SD TX, filed 3/25/2021), alleges that the city's selective enforcement of the deed restriction violates RLUIPA, the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and the federal Fair Housing Act. First Liberty Institute issued a press release announcing the filing of the lawsuit.

UPDATE: An April 20 announcement by First Liberty indicates that the case has been settled, with the City of Houston agreeing not to enforce deed restrictions against the synagogue and to dismiss citations it has already issued.