Kansas churches sue Gov. Kelly over religious gatherings executive order

Laura Kelly
Posted at 9:15 PM, Apr 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-16 23:56:37-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Two churches and their pastors have sued Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly in federal court over her executive order, which limits religious gatherings.

The lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for Kansas on Thursday argued that Kelly's directive violates the churches' and pastors' religious, assembly and free-speech rights.

The lawsuit comes after the Democratic governor thwarted an attempt by Republican legislative leaders to revoke her order.

The lawsuit was filed by First Baptist Church in Dodge City and Calvary Baptist Church in Junction City and their pastors.

Kelly issued Executive Order 20-18 on April 7, prohibiting gatherings of 10 or more “congregants or parishioners in the same building or confined or enclosed space.”

The Legislative Coordinating Council voted April 8 to overturn Kelly’s order, but she took the issue before the Kansas Supreme Court.

The state’s high court ruled Saturday that the council lacked the authority to overturn Kelly’s order and reinstated it on the eve of Easter Sunday.

Now, the issue of limiting religious gatherings goes back before Kansas courts.

41 Action News staff contributed to this report.