NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. (LEX 18) — After a series of court rulings, churches and other houses of worship can resume holding in-person services in Kentucky.
On Friday, two federal judges allowed religious services to proceed, but those rulings were in conflict with decisions in other courts.
Then on Saturday, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals stepped in to settle the controversy over whether or not Governor Beshear could prohibit in-person religious services.
The court determined the governor ran afoul of the constitution by allowing a number of exceptions for "life-sustaining" activities that follow social distancing guidelines, while not allowing similar exceptions for religious activities protected by the First Amendment.
Those will be allowed as long as they adhere to social distancing guidelines.
Two of the churches challenging the ban were Tabernacle Baptist Church in Nicholasville and Maryville Baptist Church in Bullitt County.
Maryville Baptist Church also filed a motion to eliminate to have the state's guidelines tossed out, saying the governor was trying to micromanage how they worship. But that specific motion was not addressed in any rulings.
The head pastor at Tabernacle Baptist Church in Nicholasville says that while they are opening for services this morning, they will be following all of the governor's recommendations.
While some Kentucky churches are planning to reopen their doors immediately, many others will not.
Consolidated Baptist Church in Lexington is taking a cautious approach. The head pastor there says that as a predominantly African American church, they have to be more careful about how and when they decide to let everyone back in together.
"The numbers in that segment of the population tend to run higher. They are running higher in reality, so we have to take all those things into account to make sure that all segments of the church population are as safe as can be," said Pastor Richard Gaines.