Pomerleau v. Town of Brentwood

Last modified 2022.02.09

  • Status Closed
  • Type Counsel
  • Court U.S. District Court
  • Issues Fighting Discrimination, Religious Minorities, Taxpayer Funding of Religion

The Town Council of Brentwood, Maryland had a practice of beginning each meeting with a recitation of the Lord’s Prayer. The mayor and Town Council members would rise with clasped hands and bowed heads, and the mayor typically asked the members of the audience to stand and join in a “moment of silence and/or prayer.” The mayor then led the audience in a recitation of the Lord’s Prayer over the Council’s microphone system.

Although we sent three letters to the Town Council urging it to stop this practice, the Town Council never responded to our letters and continued to deliver the Lord’s Prayer at the opening of its meetings. In February 2013, we brought suit against the Town and Town Council on behalf of two Brentwood residents: Dolores Pomerleau, a Roman Catholic who attends weekly church services; and Anne Christine Warden, a Buddhist. Our complaint asked the court to declare the delivery of the Lord’s Prayer at Town Council meetings unconstitutional and to prevent the Council from reciting the prayer at future meetings.

In October 2013, we entered into a settlement with the Town and Town Council. The settlement prohibited the Town Council from reciting the Lord’s Prayer before its meetings.

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