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Churchgoers file federal lawsuit against Governor Beshear

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Posted at 1:52 PM, Apr 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-15 13:52:45-04

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) — Three people have filed a federal lawsuit against Governor Andy Beshear after ignoring the Governor's ban on mass gatherings and attending an Easter Sunday church service.

According to WAVE 3 News, Theodore Roberts, Randall Daniel and Sally O'Boyle name Beshear, Boone County Attorney Robert Neace and Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services Acting Secretary Eric Friedlander in the 19-page suit. It's reported that suit plans to become a class action case.

The plaintiffs claim that when they left the Maryville Baptist Church service on Easter Sunday, they found notices on their car, demanding that they self-quarantine for 14 days. The three claim that Beshear's order violates their constitutional rights.

“(The) defendants have a degree of discretion available to them to deal with this public health threat” the complaint read. “Those tools, however, are not limitless ... (The) defendants have gone too far, and beyond the limits the Constitution permits.”

On Friday, April 10, Governor Beshear issued the emergency order banning large gatherings ahead of Easter Sunday.

While many churches have been holding virtual services, Maryville Baptist's Pastor, Jack Roberts has stood firm in holding in-person services.

“I have a copy both of the U.S. Constitution and the constitution of the state of Kentucky,” Roberts said last week. “They both say what (Beshear) is doing is illegal.”

According to the lawsuit, each of the plaintiffs has "sincerely held religious beliefs that in person attendance at church is central” to their faiths, and that they all “ensured appropriate social distancing” and “sat six feet away from other congregants at the service, wore masks covering their faces, and did not have personal contact with others attending.”

WAVE 3 News reached out to Governor Beshear's office for comment on the lawsuit, but has not heard back.

Governor Beshear holds daily news conferences to update the Commonwealth on the COVID-19 outbreak in Kentucky. You can watch them live on LEX 18 News.