Policy: Law

Md. judge halts prayers at county board's meetings

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Local,Maryland,First Amendment,Freedom of Religion,Law,Civil Suits

WESTMINSTER, Md. (AP) — A federal judge in Maryland says the Board of County Commissioners for Carroll County has to stop with opening meetings with prayers that reference Jesus Christ or any specific deity.

Judge William Quarles Jr. ruled Wednesday. He says that while a lawsuit over the prayers proceeds that the commission may only have non-sectarian prayers.

The American Humanist Association complained about the prayers in 2012, sending a letter to the board on behalf of three Carroll County residents. The group later filed a lawsuit on the residents' behalf when the prayers did not change. A spokeswoman for the board, Roberta Windham, said she didn't have any comment on Wednesday's ruling.

The U.S. Supreme Court is currently considering a similar case involving prayers. A decision is expected before the end of June.

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