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New York Schools Can Be Used for Worship, U.S. Judge Says

A federal judge extended an order blocking New York’s ban on the use of public schools for worship services.

U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska today granted a request from the Bronx Household of Faith that will allow its members to continue meeting in a city public school on Sundays.

The legal battle dates to 1995, when the church sued the city. The church argued the city was violating the First Amendment by denying it use of a school while allowing other community groups access to campuses for their activities.

Last year, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Manhattan, overturning Preska’s 2007 decision in favor of the church, ruled that the city may prohibit religious groups from using school facilities outside of regular school hours for worship services.

Preska has since issued orders allowing churches to worship at public schools, finding on other legal grounds that they have a right to do so. The latest ruling came today in a 51-page opinion.

The case is Bronx Household of Faith v. Board of Education of the City of New York, 01-cv-08598, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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