TOPEKA, Kan. — A state Supreme Court ruling means Kansas religious services were limited to 10 people or fewer on Easter, typically the busiest day for Christian church attendance.
Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly on Sunday said she was “forced” to include places of worship in her bans on gatherings of more than 10 people amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“My top priority has always been the safety and well-being of all Kansans,” Kelly said in a statement.
A Republican-dominated legislative panel tried to overturn Kelly’s executive order banning larger religious and funeral services. But the state Supreme Court on Saturday ruled in Kelly’s favor.
The Kansas Supreme Court’s decision does not validate the governor’s order. The legislative council may not have had legal authority to revoke it, but it is still unconstitutional. We’ll be having services tomorrow. I hope and pray that our local LE will respect the constitution.
— Aaron Harris (@amh3315) April 12, 2020
At least one church defied Kelly’s order Sunday. Pastor Aaron Harris of Calvary Baptist Church in Junction City said about 21 people attended his Easter service in a church that usually seats 300, The Wichita Eagle reported.
Republican state Senate President Susan Wagle in a Sunday statement said making attending church an arrestable offense shows Kelly has “misplaced priorities.”
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.