Two Los Angeles County residents filed a lawsuit Tuesday challenging religious invocations by clergy at City Council meetings in Lancaster, where voters last month passed a ballot measure making the practice city policy.
FOR THE RECORD:
Lancaster prayers: An article in Wednesday's LATExtra section about a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of religious invocations by clergy at Lancaster City Council meetings misspelled the first name of one of the plaintiffs, Jewish Defense League Chief Executive Shelley Rubin, as Shelly. —
The measure was overwhelmingly approved in April, despite objections from critics who said the policy would largely favor Christian prayer. The vote came after the American Civil Liberties Union sent a letter to the city threatening legal action, saying invocations at city meetings, often "in the name of Jesus," were divisive and unconstitutional.
The lawsuit was filed by attorney Roger Jon Diamond, who challenged a similar practice in Burbank in 2000 and won a state appellate court ruling saying the practice violated the Establishment Clause of the 1st Amendment.
Diamond sued on behalf of Lancaster resident Maureen Feller, who is Christian but said in the lawsuit that she was upset by prayer at council meetings, and Shelly Rubin, who is Jewish. Rubin, chief executive of the Jewish Defense League, is the widow of Irv Rubin, who was a plaintiff in the lawsuit against Burbank.