Summarized by Kent Larsen
Appeals Court Rules For Boston Temple
(Federal appeals court turns aside temple)
Boston Globe (AP) 4May00 N1
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS -- The First U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled
Wednesday that the state law allowing the construction of the Boston Temple
is constitutional. The decision resolves, at least for now, the most
potentially damaging of the two lawsuits against the building. The other
lawsuit simply challenges the height of the building's steeple.
The three-judge panel of the appeals court ruled that the so-called Dover
Amendment doesn't promote religion, but in fact protects religions from
discrimination. In their 23-page opinion, the judges said that "a law that
simply protects religious organizations from unfair treatment certainly
cannot be impermissible."
However, Chief Judge Juan Torruella dissented in the opinion, saying that
the law gave preference to religious uses of land compared to other uses.
His seven-page dissent said that the law "goes far beyond prohibiting
religious intolerance, by exempting religious users from the ordinary zoning
process and by granting them a 'free pass' with regard to perhaps the most
important issue in zoning regulation location." He said that the law "simply
goes too far, in my opinion.