Court orders City of Tucson to pay attorneys’ fees to National Day of Prayer organizers
TUCSON, Ariz.—Today the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona ordered the City of Tucson to pay just under $256,000 in attorneys’ fees to local National Day of Prayer organizers who won a suit against the city in November of last year. The city charged the organizers for the use of city facilities that non-religious groups had access to for free.
"It’s only proper that Tucson pay our clients’ attorneys’ fees for fending off the city’s violation of their First Amendment rights," said ADF Chief Counsel Benjamin Bull, who represented Robert and Patricia Gentala, the plaintiffs in the case, Gentala v. City of Tucson.
Mrs. Gentala served as chair of the National Day of Prayer in Tucson when the lawsuit was first filed in 1997. The National Day of Prayer is an annual even held the first Thursday in May across America where Christians gather to pray for the nation.
The U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona ruled on November 10 of last year that the city unlawfully discriminated against the local National Day of Prayer organizers and their religious expression by unconstitutionally charging the group for using city parks and receiving city services that non-religious users received for no charge.
"This case was an important victory in ensuring equal treatment for all religious groups by the City of Tucson. ADF will continue to defend Christian groups from attacks upon their constitutional right to free religious expression," Bull said.
The case was litigated to the U.S. Supreme Court and returned to the federal district court in Tucson for final resolution.
ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.