CO Ministry Requests Emergency Relief at Court of Appeals

Oct 1, 2020

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO – Today, Andrew Wommack Ministries International (AWMI) filed an emergency request for an injunction pending appeal to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals regarding Gov. Jared Polis’ unconstitutional COVID-19 orders. The orders give preferential treatment to nonreligious gatherings over religious gatherings. 

Liberty Counsel previously filed an emergency injunction set forth in a 98-page complaint with an appendix exceeding 600 pages and a 40-page legal memorandum of law. The most recent public health order, issued on September 15, discriminates between nonreligious and religious gatherings. AWMI Minister’s Conference begins on October 5. The District Court denied the emergency request in a 6 ½-page order. 

Liberty Counsel has now requested the Court of Appeals to issue an injunction pending appeal to address the serious constitutional problems with the discriminatory orders restricting religious gatherings. 

Governor Jared Polis and the state and local public health departments are discriminating against religious gatherings with restricted numerical and capacity limitations that are not imposed on nonreligious gatherings.

Under the governor’s orders, AWMI may conduct nonreligious counseling, social services, “necessities of life,” and educational services for Primary-12 individuals at its facilities in unlimited numbers provided only that social distancing is practiced. But as soon as the gathering transitions to a religious meeting or worship, the 175-person limit applies. Moreover, nearly 100 “Critical Businesses” are exempt from the size limitation, including Primary-12 public, charter, and private education. Gov. Polis’ orders subject AWMI to “jail time and fines” for conducting a religious worship service if there are more than 175 individuals present in the same sanctuary. 

In addition, Gov. Polis allows mass gatherings of protestors throughout the state with no social distancing or other health precautions. 

Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “Governor Jared Polis’ executive orders give preferential treatment to nonreligious gatherings over religious gatherings. While the virus does not discriminate between nonreligious and religious gatherings, Gov. Polis does. This discriminatory treatment is unconstitutional. The First Amendment gives preferential treatment to the free exercise of religion.” 

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