Federal court upholds California’s ban on church services

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday against a church in Chula Vista’s legal attempt to overturn the state’s ban on in-person church services.

According to the lawsuit, Gov. Gavin Newsom violated the church’s First Amendment rights by baring church services through his stay-at-home order. In a 2-1 decision, the court ruled the ban on gatherings did not violate the church’s First Amendment rights.

“Where state action does not ‘infringe upon or restrict practices because of their religious motivation’ and does not ‘in a selective manner impose burdens only on conduct motivated by religious belief,’ it does not violate the First Amendment,” the ruling said.

Primarily divided along political lines, from President Donald Trump to San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow, many Republicans have asked that in-person religious services can resume.

On the other side, Newsom and many liberal officials argue against allowing in-person church services because of the risks of spreading the coronavirus at large confined gatherings.

Of the three appellate judges, the two appointed by Democratic presidents ruled against the church’s appeal, while the judge appointed by Trump ruled in favor of the church’s request.

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