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Thursday
Jul282011

Court Allows Rick Perry to Participate in Prayer Event

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(HOUSTON) -- A district court in Houston ruled in favor of Gov. Rick Perry Thursday in a lawsuit trying to keep the Texas governor from participating in the Day of Prayer and Fasting event Aug. 6.

Judge Gray Miller dismissed the case after finding the plaintiffs had no standing and cited a 7th circuit ruling in favor of President Obama promoting a “national day of prayer.”

Perry’s spokesman Mark Miner said the governor is pleased with the court’s decision.

“Governor Perry looks forward to participating in a day of prayer for our nation,” Miner told ABC news in an e-mail.

A spokesman for The Response, the official name for the prayer event, lauded the court decision.

"This is a tremendous victory for the First Amendment, and the right of any and all Americans to assemble and pray without interference from forces hostile to faith,” Eric Bearse, spokesman for the Response, said.

The lawsuit against Perry was filed by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a state/church watchdog group that believes Perry’s involvement in the event violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.  The plaintiffs did not want to stop the rally from occurring but wanted the courts to bar Perry from promoting or participating in the event in any capacity.

Gov. Perry was represented by the Texas Attorney General’s office, which argued Perry’s involvement in the prayer event poses no injury to the plaintiffs and there is no need to file an injunction.

The plaintiff’s attorney said they may appeal the ruling.

Thus far, 8,000 people have signed up for the Aug. 6 event in Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas.

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