Recently, the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) intervened on behalf of a Christian resident of a senior housing complex who was instructed to remove her crosses from her outdoor garden area pursuant to a so-called policy banning all religious décor. Although both crosses are small – each under three feet tall – she and these symbols of her faith became a target for the senior housing management company.
The management company claims to have implemented the religious ban to avoid offending any current or potential residents. Clearly, the management company failed to consider how its hostile policy would not only offend, but directly target the speech and religious beliefs of people of faith.
Immediately after the ACLJ received the resident’s request for help, we contacted the management company via a legal demand letter to inform the company that its newly enacted policy singling out and banning religious décor was in clear violation of federal law, specifically, the Fair Housing Act. The ACLJ requested that the unlawful policy be rescinded and that our client be permitted to display her crosses.
Fortunately, upon receipt of our letter, the management company reconsidered its policy, complied with our request, and issued a notice to all residents that it was rescinding its previous policy to residents regarding religious symbols and that residents would be permitted to display religious décor in their windows, on their doors, and other appropriate outdoor spaces. Today, our client’s crosses continue to stand in her outdoor garden and her constitutional rights have been preserved.
At the ACLJ, we work every day to protect Americans from being denied their inalienable rights to free exercise of religion and free speech across the country. But we can only do so if the individuals affected reach out to us. If you or someone you know is experiencing some form of religious discrimination, contact us today at ACLJ.org/HELP.
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