UPDATED 12:10 PM PT — Saturday, June 27, 2020
A federal judge has ruled New York officials can no longer restrict religious services from meeting. On Friday, district Judge Gary Sharpe decided the actions of Governor Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio and others violated citizens’ First Amendment rights.
In his ruling, Sharpe noted Cuomo and de Blasio sent conflicting messages by praising protests and criticizing religious services.
The mayor even spoke at one such protest, but claimed there was a difference between the riots and a desire to worship at church.
“An entire nation simultaneously grappling with an extraordinary crisis, seated in 400 years of American racism,” he stated. “I’m sorry, that is not the same question as the understandably aggrieved store owner or the devout religious person who wants to go back to services.”
Sharpe’s ruling will allow religious services to meet under the same requirements as businesses, with 50% capacity and with congregants six feet apart.