KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly's office has reached a settlement with two churches that sued over executive orders that limited the size of religious gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The announcement came Saturday night, in which Kelly’s office said in a news release that they had "reached an agreement” that stated First Baptist Church in Dodge City and Calvary Baptist Church in Junction City, would "comply with safety protocols put in place by the court."
“My highest priority has been, and will continue to be, keeping Kansans safe during this pandemic,” Kelly said in the release. “While I am confident that we have the law on our side, the agreement with these two churches will allow us to move forward and focus our efforts on mitigating the spread of the disease and working to restart the economy.”
Earlier this month, the two churches filed suit in the U.S. District Court for Kansas with the aid of Alliance Defending Freedom, arguing that Kelly’s executive order violated constitutional religious and free speech rights.
The settlement was announced less than one week before Kelly will either begin to re-open Kansas or “keep in place the mass gathering and disease mitigation restrictions,” according to the release.
Kelly's executive orders have been issued to try and slow the spread of COVID-19. She previously had issued a stay-at-home order that was set to expire April 19, but was extended through May 3.