Here are some important law-and-religion news stories from around the web:
- In United States v. Village of Airmont, the Southern District of New York entered a consent decree settling a RLUIPA suit brought by the United States Justice Department alleging that the village engaged in religious discrimination by revising its zoning code to make it harder for Jews to worship in their homes. The consent decree increases the space in private homes for worship and removes restrictions that limited whom residents could invite into their homes to pray.
- In Littlefield v. Weld County School District RE-5J, the District of Colorado refused to dismiss a retaliation claim in which a former high school principal sued the District’s Superintendent alleging that the Superintendent demoted him and subsequently failed to renew his contract because he was a conservative Christian male. He claimed that the Superintendent took action against him because of a motivational speech he had given to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes before school started, the retaliation for which violated his First Amendment rights.
- In Bella Health and Wellness v. Weiser, the District of Colorado issued a preliminary injunction barring the state from taking enforcement action–under a law enacted earlier this year–against an anti-abortion pregnancy center which offers and advertises its medication that reverses the effects of an abortion pill based on their religious beliefs. The court found that the law banning the abortion reversal medication is not neutral or generally applicable, thus violating Bella Health’s Free Exercise rights.
- In Darren Patterson Christian Academy v. Roy, the District of Colorado issued a preliminary injunction barring Colorado from excluding a private Christian pre-school from its Universal Pre-School Program which requires schools in the program to agree that they will not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, citizenship status, education, disability, socio-economic status, or any other identity when hiring employees. The court found that the rule likely interferes with the “ministerial exception,” which permits the school to hire key employees in accordance with its faith.
- In Mays v. Cabell County Board of Education, the parties jointly dismissed their case before the Southern District of West Virginia after they settled a dispute surrounding an evangelical Christian revival assembly held by a high school during homeroom, which the plaintiffs alleged violated the Establishment Clause. Under the settlement agreement, the school board agreed to, inter alia, amend its policies on religion in schools and to require annual training for teachers regarding religion in schools.
- In Drummond v. Oklahoma Statewide Virtual Charter School Board, the Attorney General of Oklahoma filed a Petition for Writ of Mandamus and Declaratory Judgment against the Oklahoma Statewide Virtual Charter School Board challenging its approval of the Catholic Archdiocese’s application for a state-funded online religious charter school. The Attorney General’s brief in support alleged that the approval violates the Establishment Clause and would require the state to directly fund other sectarian groups as well.