In an Aug. 10 letter to lead code enforcement officer Rob Walton, attorney Marvin Rosen – a past president of the synagogue – stated: “any attempt by the town to limit, through its zoning code, the number of worshippers that can be accommodated in a house of worship would constitute an impermissible infringement of religious freedom that is strictly protected under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and under Article 1, Section 3 of the Florida Constitution.
“Accordingly, regardless of when and what numbers of seats were approved or not approved by the town, the town’s ability to approve, reject or limit the number of seats in the temple’s sanctuary was not legal, and for that reason, the Code Enforcement Board has not right, power or authority to sanction or punish the temple for not obtaining the town’s approval (if, in fact, that approval was not obtained).
This dispute was the subject of a blog post in July, which you can read here. At the time I advised the following:
I trust that Christians will express their support to the Temple in defending their position. And it is my fervent hope that God’s Chosen People, having retained suitable counsel, will let the Town have it on this one.
They fulfilled their end of the bargain; they retained suitable counsel, and he has thrown the First Amendment at the Town. They have also passed the first hurdle re operating their gift shop. I trust that we Christians will continue to express our support for the Temple and pray for their success.