NEWHALL, CA - Liberty Counsel came to the defense of residents living at The Willows, a senior apartment building in Newhall, California, who were told to remove their Christmas tree from the community room because it is a religious symbol. This is blatant discrimination on the basis of religion, Liberty Counsel told the JB Partners Group who ordered that the tree be removed.
Under the Fair Housing Act, residents cannot be discriminated against on the basis of religion, which includes the posting of holiday decorations. Federal courts have regularly rejected claims that federally subsidized facilities have to eliminate all vestiges of religion from their properties.
“If holiday decorations are permitted in the facility, then they cannot be restricted or prohibited based upon their religious content,” Liberty Counsel Attorney Richard Mast said. “Any federal law that would restrict or prohibit religious decorations would violate the First Amendment rights of the residents.”
“Liberty Counsel has asked JB Partners Group to reconsider its policy mandating the removal of religious Christmas and other holiday decorations, specifically as it applies to the senior residents of The Willows,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “Liberty Counsel is prepared to take legal action to ensure that the senior citizens at The Willows have a Merry Christmas.”