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Ruling favors Jehovah's Witnesses in Puerto Rico

A U.S. court has ordered that all gated communities in Puerto Rico find a way to grant access to Jehovah's Witnesses so they can proselytize.

Communities with guards already had to let them in. Now those without guards manning gates must provide access by Tuesday.

The American Civil Liberties Union said in a statement late Friday that the ruling benefits all religious, political and social groups.

In Puerto Rico, streets inside gated communities are considered public thoroughfares.

The Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses in Puerto Rico estimates that its members have been barred from 587 gated communities in 57 municipalities. They say that about half of the island's gated communities have guards.

Puerto Rico has 318 Jehovah's Witnesses congregations, with a total of about 25,000 members.