US Supreme Court says city council meetings can start with prayer

The United States Supreme Court has ruled that legislative bodies like city councils can begin their meetings with prayer, even if it favours a given religion.

On May 5, the court ruled 5-4 that Christian prayers before town council meetings in Greece, New York, did not violate the US constitution.

The constitution prohibits the government establishment of a religion.

The five majority judges who gave the verdict are all Catholic.

One of the four minority judges in this case is Catholic.

The Supreme Court decided 30 years ago that state legislatures may begin sessions with an invocation.

But the new case asked whether there might need to be different rules for local council meetings, where citizens often come to ask for favourable official action.

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