In May, the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (“NIFLA”) will be hosting its annual legal summit. NIFLA has asked Dalton & Tomich attorney Noel Sterett to present on how the Religious Land Use & Institutionalized Persons Act (“RLUIPA”) can help pregnancy care ministries overcome municipal efforts to prohibit or restrict where and how they serve women in their community. Noel has litigated RLUIPA cases on behalf of pregnancy centers in Illinois and North Carolina. He is also currently involved in two other lawsuits against the state of Illinois that challenge a law that requires pro-life pregnancy centers to promote abortion services.
NIFLA garnered national attention last June when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the free speech rights of pro-life pregnancy centers in NIFLA v. Becerra. The case involved California’s effort to force pro-life pregnancy centers to notify women of the availability of state subsidized abortion services. Many of these centers operate as not-for-profit ministries and are motivated by sincerely held religious beliefs that are opposed to abortion. The Supreme Court reaffirmed the bedrock First Amendment principle that the government is not to compel a person to promote a message with which they disagree.
The NIFLA case raised national awareness of the work and mission of these pregnancy care centers but also provided an opportunity for some to argue why these centers should be opposed. One area in which pregnancy center centers have faced opposition in the past and will likely see more opposition in the future is the area of land use regulation. As land use regulations and the politicization of zoning increases, local officials who are politically opposed to the viewpoint and work of the pregnancy care centers may use their zoning and land use powers to restrict where and how these centers can operate. RLUIPA and the Constitution, however, provide pregnancy care center ministries significant protections against discriminatory and burdensome land use regulations.
If your religious institution or ministry has faced land use discrimination, please contact the attorneys at Dalton & Tomich who have successfully litigated these cases all across the country.
Have you recently purchased a building or land and discovered you can’t use it because it isn’t zoned for religious assembly? Learn how to navigate the process and win the right to use your property .Download Now
Dalton & Tomich, PLC is the national leader in successfully helping churches, other religious institutions and their insurers defend their rights in land use and zoning matters under RLUIPA, the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act. We have helped clients win cases against municipalities and other local government bodies from coast to coast, with experience serving both as general counsel and special litigation counsel.
In 2015, Hope Rising Community Church experienced extreme opposition, the kind that would force it to close its doors and leave behind the families and youth it was so passionate about reaching. As the lead pastor I felt helpless, inferior and as if I had no […]Read More
Dalton & Tomich’s assistance in our RLUIPA matter has paved the way for our church to continue serving the community and for new churches in the area to thrive in the future. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your stand for religious […]Read More
The Urban Church will be forever grateful to Dalton & Tomich plc for navigating it through a difficult land use issue. Let them give you honest and caring advice because that’s exactly what they’ll do.Read More
Dalton & Tomich, PLC defended a complicated case at a church we insure. Not only is the firm professional, they understand how church business runs and work well within church leadership.Read More
Dalton & Tomich, PLC helped us immensely in the areas of litigation and negotiation! Their professionalism and understanding of church policy helped our church be victorious in a modern day religious land use battle. RLUIPA Religious Land Use Case: Lighthouse Community Church of GodRead More
Dalton & Tomich, PLC serves as General Counsel for the 144 churches within the Church of God in Michigan. The firm provides the legal expertise we need in dealing with the issues that arise during the course of fulfilling our ministry.Read More
I met Dan Dalton during a dark time for our church. He was recommended as the leading RLUIPA attorney in the nation. He demonstrated wisdom, expertise, a gentle nature, a calming inter-relational skill, genuineness, and a humble demeanor, while at the same time, being sharp, […]Read More
Mr. Dalton’s expertise and experience helped us through a very difficult legal journey, ultimately achieving a favorable outcome. His personal interest in helping our church went “above and beyond” just the call of duty. His understanding of both legal and spiritual matters seems to uniquely […]Read More