Homeowners’ Association Reverses Religious Discrimination
Kissimmee, FL – The Shingle Creek Reserve at the Oaks in Central Florida has reversed its discriminatory treatment of homeowners regarding religious lawn ornaments. When Enock and Ines Berluche were told to remove their statues of Jesus and the Virgin Mary or face “legal action,” the couple reached out to Liberty Counsel.
Previously the homeowners’ association (HOA) had permitted many other secular lawn sculptures throughout the development, including topless Greek statues and life-size human skulls. Prior to its reversal, the HOA sent numerous letters to the Berluche family demanding removal of the “religious statues,” which it had also rejected as “not harmonious with surrounding properties.” The HOA even told the family that the “Association has the right to inquire as to the religious purpose of these statues,” and demanded documentation on “the stated religion, the religious significance of the statues, and why these statues cannot be relocated to a different location on the Lot or enclosed behind a fence out of street view.”
After Liberty Counsel contacted the HOA’s attorney, the association reversed its decision and approved the statues.
“It is astounding that a homeowners association would demand to know the religious purpose or significance of a statue of Jesus and Mary. And when I read that the association wanted the statues removed behind a fence or out of view, I was outraged. We are pleased that the association reversed its obviously discriminatory position and hope that in the future, the association will be more respectful of its Christian neighbors,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel.
Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.
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