Minnesota has resolved a lawsuit by two Minnesota churches challenging the state’s restrictions on the size of indoor services meant to stop the spread of COVID-19, agreeing that any future restrictions would treat churches no differently from stores or entertainment venue. They won in court after the MN State Attorney General Keith Ellison filed a motion to dismiss the claims in March this year.
The judge sided with the plaintiffs argument that churches were given different sets of restrictions and thus not treated fairly under law. James Dickey of the Upper Midwest Law Center, lead lawyer for the plaintiffs, said in a statement, “All Minnesotans should be encouraged that their religious freedoms are protected by the U.S. Constitution and that there is no ‘pandemic exception’ to the First Amendment allowing our state officials to prevent them from assembling and worshipping free of discriminatory and irrational restrictions.”
The lawsuit was filed last May by two St. Paul churches, the Living Word Christian Center and Northland Baptist Church of St. Paul, along with Northland’s pastor, John Bruski and several small businesses including an indoor recreation facility and a hair salon.