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Judge stops New York’s restriction on churches

New York judge Gary Sharpe has ruled that the state’s attempt to restrict church and synagogue attendance to 25% of capacity is probably unconstitutional considering New York is not similarly restricting businesses and protests.

The judge noted that both the New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City mayor Bill de Blasio have even publicly supported the protests.

Judge Gary Sharpe issued an injunction stopping the restriction in a case brought before the court by the Thomas Moore Center on behalf of two Catholic priests and three synagogues.

In issuing the injunction, Judge Sharpe wrote:

“On its face, the 25% indoor capacity limitation applies only to houses of worship.” …  [I]n other words, no other secular entity, save for those that remain closed in their entirety until Phase 4 or beyond, are limited to only 25% capacity.

“Governor Cuomo’s comments, which applauded and encouraged protesting and discouraged others from violating the outdoor limitations, likely demonstrate the creation of a de facto exemption … Mayor de Blasio … has also actively encouraged participation in protests and openly discouraged religious gatherings and threatened religious worshipers.”

READ: Judge: N.Y. Can’t Restrict Churches while Permitting Protests during Pandemic

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