Community

Churches all around the commonwealth will be allowed to hold in-person services on Sunday, after two federal rulings issued Friday.

U.S. District Judge Greg Van Tatenhove granted a temporary restraining order to Tabernacle Baptist Church in Nicholasville. The church was seeking to block Gov. Andy Beshear’s order barring in-person services to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, which was set to lift on May 20.

In a separate ruling, U.S. District Judge David Hale granted an appeal from Maryville Baptist Church in Louisville, which he had previously denied. Both churches claimed Beshear’s order violates the church’s right to freedom of religion under the First Amendment.

In a statement, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron praised the rulings.

“I encourage all houses of worship to prayerfully and carefully consider when it is the right time to resume in-person services consistent with health guidelines,” he wrote. “Although these rulings protect the religious liberty of Kentuckians, we must continue to do our part to protect the health of our fellow citizens by reopening carefully.”

Attorneys for the state argued that Beshear’s order is not discriminatory because it extends to other, non-religious gatherings.