Federal lawsuit claims Gov. Beshear violated religious freedoms

Prosecutors say the plaintiffs found this notice on their vehicle windshields after attending...
Prosecutors say the plaintiffs found this notice on their vehicle windshields after attending an in-person Easter service. (Photo: WKYT)(WKYT)
Published: Apr. 15, 2020 at 11:53 AM EDT
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A federal lawsuit has been filed against Governor Andy Beshear claiming that orders aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19 violate religious freedom.

The plaintiffs are among a group of people who attended an in-person church service in Bullitt County on Easter Sunday. The suit was filed on Tuesday after the plaintiffs say they received quarantine orders after attending the service.

Boone County attorney Robert Neace and active Health and Family Services Secretary Eric Friedlander are also named as defendants in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit claims the plaintiffs had ‘sincerely held religious beliefs,’ and that they considered ‘in-person attendance... central to their faith,’

The lawsuit details how the governor has made restrictions and shut down several businesses across Kentucky, but claims that this is one of the only states where in-person services have been banned.

According to the lawsuit, the plaintiffs attended services at Maryville Baptist Church on April 12 and afterward found a “Quarantine and Prosecution Notice” on their windshields from state police.

”The bottom line is they are not quarantining they are not experiencing those symptoms whatsoever," attorney Chris Wiest said. "We don’t think they’ve got it or have gotten it from that service. I mean, anyone at a supermarket could’ve gotten it and they appropriately with that notice fear criminal prosecution.”

The lawyers say it’s not right that one Kentuckian can walk into a gas station and buy a scratch-off while another can’t practice their faith in the church.

The plaintiffs have refused to quarantine, and say neither they nor anyone else at the service displayed symptoms of COVID-19.