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Federal court closes book on library policy that discriminates against religious groups

Judge grants motion for preliminary injunction requested by ADF attorneys against officials with Contra Costa County Library system

SAN FRANCISCO—Monday a federal court put a stop to a Contra Costa County library policy that bars religious groups from using meeting rooms for “religious services” while the case goes forward.

“The judge clearly saw the ridiculous nature of the library’s policy,” said ADF attorney Elizabeth Murray.  “The library cannot choose between groups that request use of the community meeting rooms based upon the viewpoints of those groups.  Religious and non-religious groups must be treated equally.”

Faith Center Church Evangelistic Ministries requested use of a community meeting room at the Antioch branch of the Contra Costa Public Library in May of last year.  After the first meeting, library officials informed the group that they could not continue to meet at the library due to a policy that stated “library meeting rooms shall not be used for religious purposes.”

Monday, Judge Jeffrey White of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California granted the request of ADF attorneys to stop the library from enforcing its discriminatory policy.  White wrote, “The Court concludes that Plaintiffs have established that the facts and the law are clearly in their favor…and have shown the possibility of irreparable harm.”

“We hope the judge’s order is a wake-up call to the library and any other public entities that decide that religious groups are somehow second class with regard to their constitutional rights,” said Murray.  “ADF looks forward to litigating this case until the library’s unconstitutional policy is not only halted but completely stricken.”

The case, Faith Center Church Evangelistic Ministries v. Federal D. Glover, was filed July 30 of last year.

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.