Lighthouse Institute for Evangelism v. City of Long Branch
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The Lighthouse Mission has been battling with the City of Long Branch, New Jersey since 1994, seeking permission to provide social services and conduct worship services in a building at 162 Broadway. The Lighthouse Mission’s Rev. Kevin Brown found that he was unable to persuade city zoning officials to consider granting a variance that would allow the proposed uses in the district in which the building is located. A Baptist congregation had been engaged in similar activity in rented space located directly across the street.
A suit was filed in Monmouth County Superior Court on June 8, 2000, charging the city with violations of the U.S. and New Jersey Constitutions, the Civil Rights Act of 1871 and the Fair Housing Act. Becket submitted an amicus brief in the case on May 7, 2001.
After a series of appeals to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, one of the two city ordinances in question was held to be constitutional, while the other was not – a partial victory for the Lighthouse Mission.