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Original Greece complainant reacts to ruling

Brighton, N.Y. -- Before the case against prayer at council meetings received national attention, it took center stage in Greece.

It began with one woman, Brighton resident Nancy Braiman, who attended one of those meetings one night and said she felt excluded.

"I'm used to it," Braiman said. "I grew up in this country. When I was a Girl Scout with my sister, I experienced having to experience listening to Christian prayers. I had to experience living in a town where I was one of the few Jews."

She filed a complaint in 2007 with the ACLU stating that the act of prayer was a violation of the First Amendment.

The complaint was denied, but would later set the stage for debate at the highest court.

It was a debate that ended in favor of board meetings opening up in prayer.

A tradition the Town of Greece was able to continue Monday, at a special meeting the day the Supreme Court's ruling came down.

"I think the decision that was offered today was preserving what our country was founded on, the basic principle of the right to worship as you choose without the government censoring it," Greece Town Supervisor Bill Reilich said.

"We always welcome anybody of any faith," Greece Councilman Andrew Conlon said. "You're welcome to come and say the prayer, you're welcome to participate, but we feel it's important to make that a part of our meetings."

Braiman said she's not surprised by the decision and stands by her belief that the town should not sanction public prayer.

"I'd say the safest thing to do is have no prayer because it's not a church, it's not a mosque, it's not a temple; it's a legislative body," said Braiman.

And while it's not the outcome Braiman and others wanted, she said this sends a message to anyone afraid to voice their opinion.

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Washington Times