Thursday, March 01, 2012

ACLU Unable to Stop Prayer in Vermont, For Now

Vermont Superior Court Judge Martin Maley indicated that he will not issue an injunction to stop prayer at the March 6th annual town meeting in Franklin County, despite pleas from an ACLU lawyer representing a lone resident who's offended by the name of Jesus.

For background, read ACLU Sues Vermont Town over Prayer

-- From "No injunction for Franklin County town meeting prayer" by Matt Sutkoski, 2/28/12

[Marilyn] Hackett is the Franklin woman who has been fighting the town’s tradition of starting the annual March town meeting with a religious invocation.

She says the prayer has no place in a government proceeding, that it violates the Vermont Constitution’s ban on compelling people to attend religious worship and runs counter to laws that bar restrictions on public accommodations due to religious beliefs.

Town officials and their attorney say nobody is compelling anybody to do anything: Hackett and anyone else can leave the room for a few minutes during the prayer, then come back and participate fully in town meeting.

Hackett’s been fighting this battle for years, but the issue intensified this year, becoming the subject of a legal case that people involved say eventually will end up before the Vermont Supreme Court.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Should prayer be part of Town Meeting Day?" by Jennifer Reading, WCAX-TV3 2/28/12

In Franklin, residents vote in person, not at the polls. Hackett says stepping out [of the room during the prayer] not only ostracizes her for her religious beliefs, but it violates the public accommodations act, which guarantees equal access to public spaces. The town says Hackett has never been forced to leave. She participates in the discussion, votes, and is allowed to raise her objection to the religious act in the "other business" part of the meeting every year.

Hackett's lawyers plan to appeal to the Vermont Supreme Court if they lose the case.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.