Zoning Laws to Improve for Religious Groups

August 11, 2000

Source: Chicago Sun-Times

On August 11, 2000, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that a "coalition of more than 80 religious and legal advocacy groups, from liberal to conservative, support legislation that would make it harder to use zoning rules to prevent building houses of worship...Zoning regulations cannot 'place a substantial burden on exercise of religion' unless local officials show a compelling governmental objective, according to the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, which was passed by both houses of Congress on July 27. It is expected to be signed into law by President Clinton...The bill also seeks to ensure that people in institutions like mental hospitals and prisons can practice their faith freely...Supporters include the American Jewish Congress, the Christian Legal Society, the Baptist Joint Committee, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the Family Research Council and the American Civil Liberties Union."