Justice Department Celebrates 23rd Anniversary of RLUIPA with Awareness Initiatives

Increased Awareness through Outreach Events

To commemorate the 23rd anniversary of the signing of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), a federal law that protects persons and religious institutions from discriminatory land use regulations, the Justice Department announced several efforts to increase awareness of RLUIPA’s protections.

Informational Materials and Overview of RLUIPA

The department will host a series of outreach events and has released updated informational materials about RLUIPA to provide an overview of the law and the department’s enforcement efforts, as well as information about how to identify and report violations.

Quotes from Key Figures

“Over the last 23 years, the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act has helped to combat religious discrimination by protecting the civil rights of faith communities across the country,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

“RLUIPA provides important protections for religious groups throughout New Jersey,” said U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger for the District of New Jersey.

Upcoming Outreach Event at Seton Hall Law School

The department’s first RLUIPA outreach event will take place at Seton Hall Law School in Newark, New Jersey, on Oct. 30.

The event will include remarks from officials with the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, religious leaders in New Jersey whose organizations have benefited from RLUIPA’s protections, and attorneys who have experience litigating RLUIPA cases.

Nationwide Outreach Efforts

The department will host additional events across the country in the coming months, including in California and Michigan.

For more information about these events, please see the department’s RLUIPA website. All events will be open to the public.

RLUIPA’s History and Impact

RLUIPA was passed unanimously by Congress and signed into law on Sept. 22, 2000, and contains provisions covering religious land use and religious exercise by people who are incarcerated.

Since RLUIPA’s passage, the department has opened over 150 formal investigations and filed 28 lawsuits and 34 friend of the court briefs related to RLUIPA’s land use provisions.

Justice Department’s Place to Worship Initiative

In June 2018, the Justice Department announced its Place to Worship Initiative, which focuses on RLUIPA’s provisions that protect the rights of houses of worship and other religious institutions to worship on their land.

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