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Judge hears arguments in lawsuit over Beshear’s school mandate

Published: Nov. 23, 2020 at 4:50 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The COVID-19 surge continues across the commonwealth.

More than 2,100 new cases reported Monday. Those new cases come as a lawsuit against Governor Beshear went before a federal judge.

That lawsuit is over the new mandate ordering all public and private schools to move to virtual learning. Danville Christian Academy filed the suit, claiming it shouldn’t apply to religious schools, citing the first amendment.

Attorney General Daniel Cameron also joined the lawsuit.

“The first amendment protections given to churches, synagogues, and mosques are no different than the first amendment protections given to religious schools,” said Barry Dunn, deputy attorney general.

Nine other religious previous schools, including four here in Lexington, have filed an amicus brief supporting the lawsuit.

“We think we made the argument today successfully so that Governor Beshear’s orders oversteps the constitution,” said Roger Bryon, senior counsel, First Liberty Institute.

“We feel like this particular executive order was more broad in its application to us than it needed to be,” said Jeff Gehring, Lexington Christian Academy parent.

However, the governor’s attorneys say the executive order does not infringe upon religious activities but promotes public safety.

“The governor is determined to take decisive steps to stop our increasing curve of COVID-1919,” said Amy Cubbage, general counsel. “We now have 117 counties in the red zone.”

District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove did not make a ruling in Monday afternoon’s hearing but said attorneys for Danville Christian Academy, the attorney general, and the governor all had good arguments.

The judge did not give a timeline as to when he would make a ruling but said it would be soon.

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