LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky church has asked a federal appeals court to block Gov. Andy Beshear's temporary ban on mass gatherings from applying to religious services.
Attorneys for Maryville Baptist Church are seeking an emergency injunction from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, the Courier Journal reported.
The request comes after a judge refused to stop enforcement of Beshear’s order amid the coronavirus pandemic. U.S. District Judge David Hale said the governor’s order bans all mass gatherings and thus does not discriminate against religion.
Hale said he would set up additional hearings at later dates.
Attorneys for the Bullitt County church and its pastor, Jack Roberts, expressed dissatisfaction with the pace of Hale's consideration of their suit.
Marvyille Baptist Church has defied Beshear’s order for houses of worship to not hold in-person services amid the COVID-19 outbreak. At least 50 people attended its Easter service at the church, with more services held in the past few weeks.
In response, Beshear said Kentucky State Police troopers would record license plates and place notices on the vehicles of attendees at the Easter service. The notices told attendees they would have to self-quarantine.
Beshear has encouraged congregations to safely hold drive-in or virtual worship services. He has said places of worship will be able to once again hold in-person services starting May 20.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up within weeks. For some, especially older adults and those with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, even death.