The following quote may be attributed to Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Ryan Tucker, director of the ADF Center for Christian Ministries, regarding ADF’s appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit on behalf of Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley, a Nevada church challenging Gov. Steve Sisolak’s church gathering ban that allows casinos, restaurants, theme parks, and gyms to operate at 50% capacity but restricts churches to gatherings of 50 or fewer people:
“If crowds of hundreds to thousands of people can meet in casinos for hours to play the slots or blackjack, then churches should also be able to meet with appropriate health and safety precautions. Unfortunately, the district court failed to halt this rule. The government can certainly prioritize public health and safety, but it shouldn’t be able to play favorites by moving businesses and non-religious activities to the front of the line for reopening and push churches to the back. That’s unconstitutional, and that’s why we are appealing the district court’s ruling to the 9th Circuit.”
On June 4, ADF filed a supplemental brief with the court that included video footage of a recently reopened, crowded casino floor where the majority of patrons pictured are not wearing masks or practicing social distancing. Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley, which filed the lawsuit, wishes to resume in-person worship services that would amount to less than 50% of its building’s capacity, or 90 people, and has developed comprehensive social distancing and health and safety protocols to govern those services. It has not been able to proceed with its plans because the governor’s church gathering ban means the church would face criminal and civil penalties.
Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.
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