Pismo Beach Stops Prayer at Council Meetings

City Chaplain Also Let Go

PISMO BEACH, Calif. - Prayer will no longer be a part of city council meetings in Pismo Beach.

The Freedom From Religious Foundation and a local member of Atheists United San Luis Obispo brought a lawsuit against Pismo Beach asserting that the city's invocations violated the California Constitution.

At Monday's city council meeting, council voted 3-0 during closed session, to authorize a stipulated judgment that pays the plaintiff's $1 each in damages. The plaintiff's attorney's will be paid $47,500.

City council members Kris Vardas and Mary Ann Reiss did not attend the meeting.

The city of Pismo Beach denied liability, but Council determined that it would not be a prudent use of public moneys to contest the suit through trial.

"We are very happy the city of Pismo Beach has decided to end this exclusionary and unconstitutional practice, and make their government meetings welcome to all citizens," Atheists United-SLO board member, David Leidner said.

Leidner says Pismo Beach has also agreed to eliminate the city chaplaincy. 

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