The Justice Division introduced at present that it has obtained a consent decree with the village of Airmont, New York (Airmont), resolving the USA’ lawsuit below the Spiritual Land Use and Institutionalized Individuals Act (RLUIPA).
The lawsuit alleged that Airmont had revised its zoning code in 2018 to discriminate in opposition to Orthodox Jewish residents and make it tougher for them to worship in their very own houses. The consent decree will increase the quantity of house in non-public houses that can be utilized for worship, removes restrictions that restricted who residents are allowed to ask into their very own houses to hope and eliminates using an arbitrary, drawn-out software course of designed to delay and successfully deny permits for even minor alterations to non-public homes. Since 1991, that is the third lawsuit introduced by the USA in opposition to Airmont for discriminating in opposition to the Orthodox Jewish group.
“Zoning legal guidelines that deliberately make it tougher to interact in non secular worship and which might be designed to impair the rights of hinder non secular communities violate federal regulation,” mentioned Assistant Legal professional Basic Kristen Clarke of the Justice Division’s Civil Rights Division. “This settlement ought to ship a message to officers throughout the nation that we are going to maintain them accountable once they abuse zoning restrictions to cease non secular communities from freely exercising their religion. The Justice Division will tirelessly defend the best of all faiths and religions to worship within the method in step with their non secular beliefs and traditions.”
“When non secular intolerance poses a risk to the unity of this nation of many religions and traditions, it is important to face up for the First Modification proper to freedom of worship,” mentioned U.S. Legal professional Damian Williams for the Southern District of New York. “Whereas we’re happy that Airmont has agreed to settle this matter, the truth that that is the third time we have now sued the Village over comparable considerations demonstrates that this workplace can be ever vigilant in defending the rights of spiritual minorities.”
This consent decree follows the division’s announcement commemorating the twenty third anniversary of the signing of RLUIPA. The division will host a sequence of outreach occasions and has launched up to date informational supplies about RLUIPA to supply an outline of the regulation and the division’s enforcement efforts, in addition to details about the way to determine and report violations. The division’s first RLUIPA outreach occasion will happen at Seton Corridor Regulation College in Newark, New Jersey, on Oct. 30. For extra details about these occasions, please see the division’s RLUIPA web site. All occasions can be open to the general public.
In June 2018, the Justice Division introduced its Place to Worship Initiative, which focuses on RLUIPA’s provisions that defend the rights of homes of worship and different non secular establishments to worship on their land. RLUIPA authorizes the division to begin an motion in opposition to any native authorities that implements a land use regulation that locations a considerable burden on non secular train, discriminates on the premise of faith, treats non secular land makes use of worse than nonreligious assemblies or completely or unreasonable excludes non secular land use. Extra info is accessible at www.justice.gov/crt/placetoworship.
People who consider they’ve been subjected to non secular discrimination in land use or zoning selections could contact the Civil Rights Division’s Housing and Civil Enforcement Part at (833) 591-0291 or could submit a grievance via the grievance portal on the Place to Worship Initiative web site. Extra details about RLUIPA, together with questions and solutions in regards to the regulation and different paperwork, could also be discovered at www.justice.gov/crt/about/hce/rluipaexplain.php.
View the consent decree right here.