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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended September 29, 2000
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church
Sent on Mormon-News: 27Sep00

Summarized by Kent Larsen

Clinton Signs Religious Zoning Law

WASHINGTON, DC -- US President Bill Clinton signed a bill protecting religions from discrimination under local zoning laws into law on Friday. The bill addresses the concerns of many religions, including the LDS Church, that local governments are using zoning laws to keep them from building new churches or expanding existing ones.

The bill was introduced in the US Senate by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who is an LDS Church member, after he learned that 50% of challenges by churches to zoning laws were from religions that represent less than 10% of the population.

The new law addresses a major concern for the LDS Church, which has suffered from multiple challenges to building Temples and meetinghouses. Possibly the most well-known of the challenges was in Forrest Hills, Tennesee, where the Church was trying to build its Nashville Temple. In the face of continuing zoning challenges, the Church moved the proposed building to another Nashville suburb, Franklin, where it constructed a smaller Temple. Other examples can be seen in Boston, White Plains, New York and even Big Sky, Montana [See Mormon News' Coverage of Zoning Challenges to LDS Building Projects .

Local officials have protested the new law in testimony before the US Congress, suggesting that the law will make the zoning process more difficult and open the towns to "frivolous" lawsuits by Churches. The also claim that the law unconstitutionally favors religion.

Because of these claims, the law may actually increase the 10-year-long fight over religious liberty in the US.


Clinton signs law to bolster religious freedom in land use
Detroit MI News (Los Angeles Times) 23Sep00 T1
By David G. Savage and Richard Simon: Los Angeles Times

See also:
Mormon News' Coverage of Zoning Challenges to LDS Building Projects .


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