Condo could prohibit religious displays on doorways

A condominium association can prohibit owners from displaying any objects on or in front of their doorways – including Christmas decorations and crucifixes, says a federal appeals court in Chicago.

In this case a woman sued because the condo rule had prohibited her from placing a traditional Jewish mezuzah on her doorpost. She claimed this amounted to religious discrimination. But the court said that the rule was valid as long as it was a blanket ban on all objects, religious or otherwise.

While a condo board could not ban only religious articles – because this would be discrimination – the board in this case wasn’t discriminating, because it banned all objects including non-religious articles such as photos, artwork and sports banners.

Nor did the board have a legal duty to make an exception for religious articles. However, the court’s ruling only discussed the woman’s claim under the federal Fair Housing Act. Other state or local laws might require an association to accommodate a religious observance.