A church in Maryland has received an early Christmas present: it can continue worshipping despite a city's controversial zoning law.
The City of Laurel made changes to its zoning laws which affected area churches, and the change forced houses of worship to go through a special exemption process that did not affect other non-profits, alleges religious liberty law firm Alliance Defending Freedom.
For example, if someone wanted to sing secular songs or host a karaoke bar in downtown Laurel, they could. If they wanted to gather and sing religious songs in a house of worship, however, ADF says they had to go through the process of getting permission.
Laurel, a city of approximately 26,000, is located in Prince George's County.
ADF filed a lawsuit in February on behalf of Redemption Community Church, which holds Sunday worship services in the downtown area and serves the underprivileged in the community.
"Government can't discriminate against churches just because they're religious," says ADF attorney Christiana Holcomb.
The city reversed its policy after the lawsuit was filed, but the legal case Redemption Community Church v. City of Laurel will continue before a federal magistrate judge until it is formally resolved.
Redemption Community Church is currently holding worship services in the downtown area.