Colorado sued over COVID-19 orders limiting attendance at religious gatherings
A legal organization representing Andrew Wommack Ministries sued Gov. Jared Polis on Monday in an effort to halt Colorado’s COVID-19 public health orders that limit the size of religious and other gatherings ahead of a conference the Woodland Park ministry is holding next week.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Denver, asks for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against multiple public health orders issued by state officials during the coronavirus pandemic.
The suit comes a week before the ministry’s Pastor’s Conference, which is scheduled to start Oct. 5. The event draws pastors and ministers from outside the local community and is required attendance for more than 600 students at Charis Bible College, according to the legal complaint.
The lawsuit filed by the conservative nonprofit organization Liberty Counsel challenges Colorado’s 175-person cap on religious gatherings during the pandemic. The lawsuit calls out Polis for having “excused from such restrictions untold thousands of protesters who have gathered all throughout Colorado cities, with no social distancing, and with no threat of criminal or legal sanction.”
In July, the Colorado Attorney General’s Office sent a cease-and-desist letter to Andrew Wommack Ministries for violating the state’s health orders by hosting a summer conference, KRDO reported.
The issue of COVID-19 restrictions on houses of worship has reached the U.S. Supreme Court already this year, with the justices voting 5-4 in May to reject a challenge by a California church suing to stop that state’s order to shut down religious services.
Liberty Counsel, the group suing Polis and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, has been designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-LGBTQ “hate group.”
Representatives from the governor’s office and the state health department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
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