Gotham Gazette

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A Federal appeals court ruled yesterday that a City policy banning religious groups from using space in public schools for worship does not violate the U.S. Constitution. The 2-1 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals in Manhattan is the latest in a nearly 20-year legal saga that started with a small Bronx church that tried to hold weekend services at its local school. The ruling does not prohibit the City from offering space, but allows it to deny use. Unlike his predecessor, Mayor Bill de Blasio has said he supports religious organizations' right to hold services in schools, pointing out that they pay a rental fee like any other non-profit doing so. Out of the 50 largest U.S. school districts, New York was the only one to entirely ban religious worship. The City has also not been allowing public schools to host partisan political activities or for-profit events.

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