4th Circuit Court of Appeals rules that prayer before Rowan County meetings is constitutional

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday in favor of Rowan County in its prayer lawsuit.

Channel 9 has followed the controversy since 2012. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit on behalf of three Rowan County residents who argued that prayers by commissioners were only Christian and didn’t include other religions, making them unconstitutional.

A district court agreed and ruled the prayers as unconstitutional.

But in a 2-1 decision, the 4th Circuit reversed the district court's ruling.

“There is a clear line of precedent not only upholding the practice of legislative prayer, but acknowledging the ways in which it can bring together citizens of all backgrounds and encourage them to participate in the workings of their government,” the court said.

"We are very pleased with the decision and think the court properly decided the matter. Our attorneys are currently working through the decision and we will know more about it in the coming days," said Rowan County commission chair Greg Edds.

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