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Americans United Hails Federal Appeals Court’s Ruling In Mich. Government Prayer Case

Court Notes That Resident Who Brought Case Was Ridiculed By Jackson County Officials

A federal appeals court today ruled that county commissioners in Jackson County, Mich., may not open their meetings by personally delivering prayers that are exclusively Christian in nature.

The case, Bormuth v. County of Jackson, was brought by a local resident who is a Druid and who opposed the prayer policy. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 in Peter Bormuth’s favor.

Americans United says the court made the right call.

Michigan Appeals Court Affirms Grand Haven’s Right To Remove Cross

A Michigan appeals court has affirmed the city of Grand Haven’s right to remove a giant cross that once was displayed on city property.

Grand Haven Council in 2015 ended its policy of displaying the 48-foot-tall cross after Americans United filed a complaint objecting to displays of the cross for religious services and other occasions, as well as a display of a nativity scene in December.

Betsy DeVos Is Known For Promoting Vouchers, But Her Take On Charter Schools Also Raises Religious-Liberty Concerns

President-elect Donald Trump has picked Betsy DeVos to head the U.S. Education Department. DeVos is infamous for leading the crusade to create private school vouchers, but she’s also known for her Wild West approach to charter schools – and that should worry religious-liberty watchdogs. 

AU Files Legal Briefs In Two Cases Dealing With Religious Symbols

Americans United recently filed two legal briefs in cases challenging the display of religious symbols on government property:

In a Dec. 17 brief, Americans Uni­ted told the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that a Pennsylvania woman and her minor child should be permitted to sue the New Kensington-Arnold School District over a Ten Commandments display at a local high school.

Taking the Plunge: What Happens if the Supreme Court Grants Marriage Equality to LGBT Couples

Editor’s Note: The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2014-15 term is coming to a close, and a landmark ruling on marriage equality is pending. In light of that, “The Wall of Separation” asked AU’s Legal Department to examine the three possible outcomes in this case. In this blog post, Gregory Lipper, senior litigation counsel, and Matthew Russo, an AU legal intern, discuss what will likely happen if the high court extends marriage equality nationwide.

Deja Vu All Over Again: Religious Objections To Interracial Marriage And Same-Sex Marriage

“Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” has become a cliché, but opposition to marriage equality remains rooted in certain religious beliefs. The same-sex marriage bans of four states will be considered next week by the Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges. Proponents of these marriage bans framed their arguments in religious terms; legislators even quoted scripture and proclaimed that the ban was necessary “for the stability of society and for the greater glory of God.”

Reasonable Settlement

For the past six years, visitors to the city hall of Warren, Mich., have encountered something few municipal buildings have: a large booth marked “Prayer Station.”

Staffed four days a week, the prayer booth offers spiritual counseling and religious literature to those visiting the building. City officials justified it by saying that residents of the economically challenged municipality need a pick-me-up.

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