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First Liberty Briefing

First Liberty Briefing is an exclusive podcast hosted by First Liberty Institute’s Senior Counsel Jeremy Dys. In about 90-seconds, three times a week, Jeremy recalls the stories that have shaped America’s religious liberty, from the founding era to current legal battles and more. It’s an insider’s look at the stories, cases, people, and laws that have made America the world’s leader in protecting religious liberty.
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Dec 12, 2018

After three years of litigation, Cornerstone Church by the Bay wins their case and can use their own property to minister to the community.  Learn more about how First Liberty defended this church against the south Texas city’s zoning laws by visiting FirstLiberty.org/Briefing.


After three years of litigation, Cornerstone Church by the Bay wins their case and can use their own property to minister to the community. 

The south Texas church, and the private school that it runs, purchased property that they hoped would allow them to leave their rented space and continue their ministry on their own property.  But, the city’s zoning laws were confusing.  It allowed non-religious institutions to occupy that part of town, but the zoning rules did not allow churches there.  When the church asked for a special use permit, the town’s Board of Aldermen denied the request, keeping churches from operating in that area.

Left with no other option, Cornerstone turned to First Liberty.  We filed a lawsuit on their behalf alleging that the town’s zoning actions violated the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act along with the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act.  Not long after, the court granted our request for a preliminary injunction while the litigation continued. 

But, the town has decided to quit that litigation. In settling with Cornerstone, the Town of Bayview agreed to issue the special use permit the church requested over three years ago. 

Houses of worship have legal rights that must be respected by local government officials.  This church is now free to serve their community, on their own property, as every church should be.

To learn how First Liberty is protecting religious liberty for all Americans, visit FirstLiberty.org.

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