Texas City Trying to get Santeria Suit Dismissed

February 4, 2007

Author: Michael Grabell

Source: The Dallas Morning News


DALLAS - The city of Euless, Texas, has asked a federal judge to dismiss a religious discrimination lawsuit filed by a Santeria priest who wants to sacrifice animals at his home.

The priest, Jose Merced, sued the city in December after police and permit officials told him he couldn't kill goats for an initiation ceremony.

At the center of the lawsuit is a 2000 federal land-use law, which says that local governments must show a compelling public interest before enforcing an ordinance that could limit a religious practice.

But Euless argues in court records that the act is unconstitutional because it amounts to Congress intruding on a state's right to regulate the health and welfare of its residents.

"Slaughtering of any animal in the city of Euless is illegal for anyone, just like it has been for decades," said the city's attorney, William McKamie.