City Drops Charges in Home Bible Study Case

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A Christian couple in southern California will be able to resume their home Bible studies without penalty and constant regulation.

In September, city officials in San Juan Capistrano cited Chuck and Stephanie Fromm for holding a weekly Bible study in their large home.  A neighbor had complained about the gatherings.

Officials said the couple violated a city ordinance and ordered them to stop holding the Bible studies. Authorities also fined the couple $300 and required that they get a permit.

Now, San Juan Capistrano officials have decided to dismiss the case against the Fromms and re-evaluate city policies for home meetings.

"We believe in the right of all residents to exercise First Amendment freedoms,
and protecting our residents' constitutional rights is paramount," said San Juan Capistrano City Manager Karen Brust.

"We love living in San Juan and are so glad that our city officials are
willing to move forward on this issue and do the hard work of creating fair
and equitable policies, while respecting public safety, and eliminating discrimination for all home gatherings," Stephanie Fromm added.

City officials said the case involved whether property developed for residential use could be used for "public assembly."

The Fromms said their rights were violated.

Since the case was dismissed, the city also refunded the $300 citation fee.

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