San Juan Capistrano Backpedals From Bible Study Shutdown
San Juan Capistrano, CA – The Southern California city that issued citations against homeowners Chuck and Stephanie Fromm, for holding Bible studies in their home, has reversed course after attorneys for Pacific Justice Institute took the case to court. The city recently dropped its action against the couple and refunded the fines they had paid. However, the city has not yet changed its laws that led to the controversy.
In a letter to the couple, Karen P. Brust, San Juan Capistrano City Manager, who had been working with the Fromms, also stated, “City staff will commence the discussion with the Planning Commission…about the issue of the need to clarify the Land Use Code with respect to places of public assembly and gatherings at single family residences.”
PJI had filed an appeal of the citations in the Orange County Superior Court. While that case has now been favorably resolved, PJI will continue to press city officials for a resolution of the underlying problems, which include unfettered discretion on the part of code enforcement officers.
Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute, noted that the resolution was a timely reaffirmation of core religious values. “From the landing of the Mayflower at Plymouth Rock, through the founding of San Juan Capistrano as a mission, the freedom to worship God has been a bedrock American principle. This victory is an important reminder of that principle.”
Michael Peffer, who heads PJI’s Southern California office and handled the case, added, “We will continue fighting to ensure that SJC and other cities put freedom first—especially when it comes to informal gatherings in private homes.”