Sunday, March 13, 2016

Polygamous Cities On Losing End Of $2M Jury Verdict For Religious Discrimination Against Non-Members Of FLDS Church In Violation Of Fair Housing Act

From the U.S. Department of Justice (Washington, D.C.):
  • A federal jury in Phoenix returned a verdict [] finding that the towns of Colorado City, Arizona, and Hildale, Utah, and their joint water company systematically discriminated against individuals who are not members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (FLDS) in the provision of housing, utility and policing services in violation of the Fair Housing Act. Prior to the jury verdict, the parties reached an agreement that the defendants will pay $1.6 million to resolve the monetary claim under the Fair Housing Act.
    ***
    “Today’s verdict reaffirms that America guarantees all people equal protection and fair treatment, regardless of their religious beliefs,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “When communities deny their residents critical services simply because of where they worship, they violate our laws and threaten the defining values of religious freedom and tolerance that are the foundation of our country.”

    This was the department’s first lawsuit to include claims under both the Fair Housing Act and Section 14141, the federal statute that allows the Attorney General to address patterns or practices of police misconduct.

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