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Senators Back Suit Against D.C. Mayor’s Pandemic Restrictions on Church: Report

A lawsuit filed against coronavirus-related restrictions placed on a Baptist church in D.C. by the city’s mayor has been backed by more than 30 U.S. senators.

Mayor Muriel Bowser has prohibited the historic Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Northeast from holding outdoor services in order to slow the spread of the deadly virus, Fox News reported Thursday.

“While a local government has significant discretion to decide what measures to adapt to meet a public health threat, the Free Exercise Clause of the Constitution requires that, whatever level of restriction it adopts, government must treat religious gatherings the same as comparable nonreligious gatherings,” the U.S. government argued in a brief, Fox reported.

Earlier this month, the Justice Department supported the church, claiming it was being blocked from outdoor worship even though the city has permitted large outdoor events and gatherings, including protests.

In a message tweeted earlier this week leveling criticism against Bowser, Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) said he was joining a group of Senate colleagues in support of an amicus brief filed in the case.

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