Supreme Court rules in favor of Colorado church over capacity limits during pandemic

West

AULT, Colo. (KDVR) — The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of a church in Northern Colorado that sued over the state’s COVID-19 capacity restrictions on places of worship.

High Plains Harvest Church Pastor Mark Hotaling said his church sued the State of Colorado to take a stand for houses of worship nationwide. He believes capacity should not be limited at religious locations. 

Colorado recently lifted its order limiting capacity of 50 people at houses of worship.

“God’s people need to gather,” Hotaling said. “They need to assemble. They need to worship. We’re directed by scripture to do that.”

Hotaling’s parishioners said it was unfair for the state to impose tighter capacity restrictions on their church than it did on big box stores like Walmart.

“I’m glad we’ve, so far, been able to do what we set out to do,” a church parishioner said.

The high court instructed lower court federal judges to reconsider challenges to state-imposed COVID-19 capacity restrictions in Colorado and New Jersey. The justices used a case out of New York to make clear the governor’s restrictions on capacity at Catholic churches in the Empire State is unconstitutional under the First Amendment.

“The discrimination that has gone on in this state against houses of worship … we decided, you know what, we’ll be the ones to step out and stand in the gap.”

Pastor Mark Hotaling, High Plains Harvest Church

Colorado said orders on capacity are intended to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The state argued the orders were not based on religious discrimination.

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