Published May 29, 2009
San Diego Couple Should Be Free to Host Bible Study Sessions
ACLU says county should rescind citation
A recent Fox news story reported that a San Diego couple, David and Mary Jones, was informed by a county employee that the bible study sessions they hosted in their home violated county codes. A few days later, they were warned in writing to “stop religious assembly or apply for a major use permit,” according to the couple’s attorney.
The ACLU–which does not represent the couple–sent a letter to the Department of Planning and Land Use strongly urging the County to rescind or dismiss the citation.
The ACLU shares concerns raised by the couple’s law firm, the Western Center for Law and Policy, that the citation is not justified by the zoning code. Even if there were some viable zoning concerns, the ACLU is concerned that it unlawfully infringes the Joneses’ constitutional rights.
Singling out a religious gathering in a private home for zoning enforcement on terms and conditions not applicable to a similarly situated non-religious gathering is likely unlawful.