xA federal appeals court struck down strict limits on gatherings in houses of worship in New York on Monday.
A three-judge panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit struck down the limits put in place by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, ruling that Cuomo’s lockdown “discriminates against religion on its face” by setting unfair restrictions on churches and synagogues while businesses deemed essential were allowed to operate, according to the New York Post.
Cuomo’s restrictions had limited the size of religious gatherings to 10 people or 25% capacity in so-called virus “red” zones, and to 25 people or 33% capacity in “orange” zones. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, the Orthodox Jewish group Agudath Israel of America, and two synagogues sued the state over the order, arguing that it trampled their right to free exercise of religion.
“The restrictions challenged here specially and disproportionately burden religious exercise” and violate the First Amendment, the court ruled. “We conclude that [Cuomo’s] Order discriminates against religion on its face.”
“No public interest is served by maintaining an unconstitutional policy when constitutional alternatives are available to achieve the same goal,” the ruling continued. – READ MORE
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