FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Attorney General Daniel Cameron Wednesday filed an amicus brief in support of a Bullitt County church’s lawsuit against Governor Andy Beshear’s ban on religious services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The brief, filed in Maryville Baptist Church v. Beshear, argues that Governor Beshear’s March 19 and March 25 executive orders mandate a broad ban against faith-based activity throughout the Commonwealth, while allowing secular activities and organizations to continue operation.
The attorney general says the March 19 order expressly lists faith-based gatherings as a type of mass gathering that is banned during the pandemic. Cameron says the order is written as broadly as possible, leaving no doubt that all faith-based gatherings are illegal.
In the March 25 follow-up order, Governor Beshear closed all organizations that are not life-sustaining. In the order, the attorney general claims the governor failed to identify faith-based gatherings as those that sustain life, despite identifying 19 other categories of activities that are allowed to continue operation. When Maryville Baptist Church did not close, Governor Beshear ordered the taking of worshippers license plate numbers.
“Both the Constitution and state law protect the rights of our citizens, of all faiths and backgrounds, to freely worship as they see fit,” said Attorney General Cameron.
“If a church wishes to hold an in-person service to practice their faith, they should be allowed to do so consistent with CDC recommendations. Other states have narrowly tailored their orders to protect the First Amendment rights of citizens while also discouraging the spread of COVID-19. Governor Beshear’s unnecessarily broad orders fail to strike this important balance,” Cameron said.
The attorney general has called on Governor Beshear to rescind the executive orders targeting faith-based gatherings. If the governor fails to rescind them, Attorney General Cameron says plans to file a lawsuit regarding the constitutionality of the orders.
To view a copy of the amicus brief, click here.