KENTUCKY (WFIE) - A federal judge has ruled that in-person religious services can resume throughout the state despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
This ruling means that churches in Kentucky can host religious services beginning on Sunday.
Tabernacle Baptist Church in Nicholasville filed a lawsuit last week to challenge the executive order that Gov. Andy Beshear issued back on March 19, which effectively banned in-person church services and other mass gatherings in order to contain the spread of COVID-19.
The church won a temporary restraining order against the Governor’s mass gathering ban. Meanwhile, Maryville Baptist Church in Louisville also filed a lawsuit and was granted an injunction to block the executive order.
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron released the following statement about Friday’s two rulings:
"Two federal courts tonight issued orders, in two separate cases, against Governor Beshear’s unconstitutional executive orders prohibiting religious services. Both rulings affirm that the law prohibits the government from treating houses of worship differently than secular activities during this pandemic.
Freedom of religion, enshrined in the founding documents of our nation and our Commonwealth, has been affirmed many times over by our judiciary and was once again upheld tonight. The rulings should serve as a reminder that the pillars of our nation stand strong even in the midst of a crisis and are not to be ignored, cast aside, or downplayed, regardless of the circumstances.
I encourage all houses of worship to prayerfully and carefully consider when it is the right time to resume in-person services consistent with health guidelines. Although these rulings protect the religious liberty of Kentuckians, we must continue to do our part to protect the health of our fellow citizens by reopening carefully."