Here are some important law-and-religion news stories from around the web:
- In Mahmoud v. McKnight, the United States District Court for the District of Maryland refused to allow parents to opt their public-school children out of classroom reading and discussion of books with LGBTQ themes because the books’ messages violate the parents’ sincerely held religious beliefs.
- In Country Mill Farms, LLC v. City of East Lansing, the Eastern District of Michigan held that the city violated the Free Exercise rights of Country Mill Farms when the city refused to invite Country Mill to be a vendor at East Lansing’s Farmer’s Market because Country Mill violated the city’s anti-discrimination ordinance by refusing, for religious reasons, to rent its farm out for same-sex weddings. The court held that the discrimination ban was not generally applicable because exemptions in the ordinance allow the city to do business with firms that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.
- In Satz v. Satz, a New Jersey state appellate court upheld a trial court’s order to enforce a marital settlement agreement that the parties entered into in connection with their divorce proceedings. One provision in the agreement obligated the parties to comply with recommendations of a Jewish religious court (beis din) that required the husband to give a get (Jewish bill of divorce) to the wife. The husband’s argument that the trial court’s enforcement of the agreement violated the Establishment Clause was rejected by the appellate court.
- In Deutsche Evangelisch Lutherische Zions Gemeinde v. Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, a New York state trial court dismissed a suit brought by a German Lutheran church in Brooklyn that claims it broke away from its parent bodies because of the parent bodies’ stance accepting same-sex marriage and ordination of gay clergy. The church asked the court to determine that its membership with the parent bodies was terminated and that the parent bodies could not take control of their church property.
- In a press release, the Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco announced that it has filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Reorganization in order to resolve over 500 lawsuits alleging child sexual abuse brought under California Assembly Bill 218, which re-opened the statute of limitations for sexual abuse claims that would otherwise be time barred.
- The UN Security Council scheduled an emergency meeting to address the worsening situation–and burgeoning humanitarian crisis–in the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia. In the Nagorno-Karabakh region, Azerbaijan took control of the only road leading to Armenia, which has created unlivable conditions in the region, leaving the Armenian Christian population without food and medicine.