More than 30 Republican senators and one Democrat have signed on to an amicus brief in support of a city sued for opening its council meetings with prayer.
The town of Greece, N.Y., was sued in 2008 by Americans United for Separation of Church and State sued the town of Greece on behalf of local residents Susan Galloway and Linda Stephens, who claimed having Christian prayers at the beginning of a council meeting was unconstitutional.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who led the amicus brief, noted the town has welcomed Christian, Jewish, and Wiccan prayer as well as reflections from atheists.
The Supreme Court agreed in May to hear the case. The New York-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit recently ruled that the town did violate the Constitution.
“This case brings about an historic moment in the effort to preserve the fundamental American principle of religious liberty,” said Rubio. “The Court of Appeals’ decision was flawed in its interpretation of the founders’ intention for religious liberty. America was founded on the ideal that Americans have the right to practice or not practice any religion, not that public forums should be free from religious expression or limited to court-approved prayer.”
In addition to conservative Republicans, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) signed onto the brief.
“The founders would be alarmed by this effort to block Americans from peacefully expressing their religious sentiments in a free and open forum,” Rubio added. “I have filed this amicus brief to call attention to the importance of this case for Americans of all faiths and world views who value the uniqueness of America’s promise of religious freedom.”
Conservatives in the House filed an amicus brief on the case in January.