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Bay View votes to end religious requirement

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Pat (Cletch) Williams
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https://flic.kr/p/6HeZaE

Residents of Bay View in northwest Michigan have voted to end the community’s religious test for residents.

Previously, those wishing to purchase a cottage in the community needed to provide proof that they attended a Christian church. This prevented non-Christians from purchasing cottages, or in some cases, inheriting cottages from family members.

Saturday’s vote follows a court hearing last week, where a federal judge delayed a ruling on a lawsuit over the religious requirement. He said he would not issue a ruling until residents voted on a bylaws change that would remove the rule.

69 percent of residents voted in favor of the bylaw amendment - just over the two-thirds majority required to make the change.

Members of the group behind the suit said they were in support of the amendment and saw it’s passage as a “significant step” in resolving the suit. But, they say, they need assurances that the bylaw can’t be changed back.

Lawyers for Bay View did not respond to our request for comment.