Briefing Complete: Road is Clear for the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to Decide Whether Local Government Can Discriminate Against a Church
Opulent Life Church v. Holly Springs, MS.
HOLLY SPRINGS, Miss., May 23, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Briefing in an important religious liberty case, Opulent Life Church v Holly Springs, MS, at the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is now complete with Liberty Institute's filing of the final reply brief. The court will now decide the fate of the church.
With a growing congregation, Opulent Life Church sought to move to a new space in the downtown area of Holly Springs, Miss., but due to city zoning restrictions, the church was required to obtain the approval of 60 percent of local property owners and the mayor before it could relocate. No other type of business in Holly Springs is subject to this requirement.
"To place special burdens on churches is unfair and unconstitutional," said Hiram Sasser, director of litigation for Liberty Institute. "This case could set a valuable precedent for churches across the country. Religious freedom is an inalienable right that should not be granted or prohibited at the whim of a single government official."
In January, Liberty Institute filed a lawsuit on behalf of Opulent Life Church and its pastor, Telsa DeBerry, and sought a preliminary injunction pursuant to the First Amendment and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA). The District Court unfortunately denied the injunction.
Liberty Institute is appealing this decision, arguing that the city's zoning ordinance unfairly singles out churches, and is asking the court to reverse the district court's decision and grant the church a preliminary injunction, allowing it to lease the building on the town square.
About Liberty Institute
Liberty Institute is a nonprofit legal group dedicated to defending and restoring religious liberty across America — in our schools, for our churches and throughout the public arena. Liberty Institute's vision is to reestablish religious liberty in accordance with our nation's founding principles. For information, visit www.LibertyInstitute.org.
SOURCE Liberty Institute