PALM BEACH, June 30, 2004 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Ending a six month legal battle over Christmas displays, the Town of Palm Beach, Florida this week paid $50,000 in attorney fees to the Thomas More Law Center pursuant to a previously entered federal court Consent Judgment. The Town also acknowledged and publicly apologized for its failure to respond to multiple offers by two of its residents, Maureen Donnell and Fern Tailer deNarvaez, to donate Christian Nativity scenes for display alongside two town-sponsored Jewish Menorahs during the Christmas holiday season. Donnell commented, “We won everything that we wanted. All religions will be treated equally. That’s all we were fighting for. Now the Town Council must address every situation that comes up, which they did not do with us.”
The Consent Judgment signed by a federal district court judge in late May acknowledged the importance of recognizing religious holidays and provided that “Should the Town erect or allow the display of religious symbols on public property…all religious symbols will be given equal treatment.” The court also ordered the town to enact and make public within 90 days written procedures for reviewing citizen requests for religious displays on public property. The town was also ordered to pay $1.00 to each woman as nominal damages for the town’s negligence in responding to the women’s requests.
Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center commented, “This lawsuit and the resulting legal fees would have never occurred had the Town displayed some common courtesy toward two of its residents. Clearly, Christians of Palm Beach were being denied the right to express their religious message in a public forum that was open to other religious faiths. This Consent Judgment will bring to an end the Town’s discrimination towards the Christian faith during one of its holiest seasons.”