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Judge stops Pittsylvania board's meeting prayer

Wednesday - 3/27/2013, 1:50pm  ET

DANVILLE, Va. (AP) -- A federal judge says the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors' practice of opening meetings with sectarian prayer is unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge Michael Urbanski issued a permanent injunction Wednesday barring the board from opening meetings with prayers associated with any one religion.

Urbanksi's order says the board can still open meetings with a prayer or invocation but it must strive to be nondenominational.

The decision came in a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union in September 2011 on behalf of Barbara Hudson. The lawsuit contended that the prayers by a public body amount to an endorsement of religion.

The board denied the claim. It argued that Hudson's hatred of the board motivated her to file the lawsuit.

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