BALTIMORE (AP) — An Elkton, Md., church focused on serving the homeless is suing the town of Elkton because civil libertarians and church leaders say the town is hindering the church's expression of faith.

Carl Mazza, pastor of the Meeting Ground, said Elkton officials have blocked attempts by the church to open a day center for homeless men and women. The Mary Randall Empowerment Center would provide religious, employment and social needs for homeless men and women.

The church already owns property zoned for use by churches and businesses, but Elkton's zoning board required the center to have a special zoning exception.

A statement from the American Civil Liberties Union said the zoning board isn't recognizing the center as a religious institution but instead as a social or philanthropic organization. When the Meeting Ground revised its application, the town zoning board denied it.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.