California agrees never to impose discriminatory restrictions on houses of worship; will pay over $2 million in attorney’s fees

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by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) – In what the plaintiffs’ lawyers described as a “triumph for religious liberty,” California has agreed to never again impose discriminatory restrictions on houses of worship, and to pay a total of $2,150,000 in attorney’s fees in settlement of separate lawsuits filed by South Bay United Pentecostal Church and Catholic priest Trevor Burfitt, Christian Headlines reports.

The plaintiffs in both cases had sued the state, arguing the pandemic restrictions imposed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom violated their First Amendment rights to freedom of religion. The plaintiffs said houses of worship should not have stricter limits imposed on them than businesses do.

Representing the plaintiffs, the conservative law firm Thomas More Society said in a statement about the settlement: “Restrictions on churches cannot be more severe than restrictions on retail. We are pleased with the final results in these two important cases.”

Noting that the South Bay case had involved “an unprecedented three trips to the United States Supreme Court in a one-year period,” Thomas More special counsel Charles LiMandri added in a statement about the settlements, “The permanent injunctions in these cases uphold and protect one of the most cherished principles of our republic: The Free Exercise of Religion.”

The Thomas More Society is also engaged in prosecuting and defending COVID-19 restrictions cases on behalf of Pastor John MacArthur and Grace Community Church in California.

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