First Baptist Church v. Kelly

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Monday, May 04, 2020

Description:  A provision of Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly’s COVID-19 mass gathering ban unconstitutionally treated religious congregations different from many secular gatherings.

ADF lawsuit prompts KS governor to issue new order that no longer targets churches

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Attorney sound bite:  Tyson Langhofer

The following quote may be attributed to Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Tyson Langhofer regarding a new executive order that Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly announced Thursday as a result of the ADF lawsuit First Baptist Church v. Kelly that no longer unconstitutionally singles out churches for special punishment in its regulations related to mass gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic:

“Singling out churches for special punishment while allowing others to have greater freedom never made sense and was never constitutional. It’s a shame that it took a federal lawsuit and a temporary restraining order to finally prompt the governor to issue an order that she could easily have issued in the first place: one that doesn’t needlessly and unconstitutionally target churches. The new executive order that we have seen rids itself of the unnecessary and unlawful language the governor included in her previous mass gathering ban. We are pleased that, finally, churches and other religious congregations will no longer have to fear discriminatory punishment for engaging safely in activities that other similarly situated groups haven’t had to fear under the governor’s executive orders.”

On behalf of two rural Kansas churches, ADF attorneys plan to file a voluntary dismissal of their lawsuit shortly after the new executive order goes into effect on Monday, provided that no changes are made to the promised language of the governor’s order.

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.
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Monday, May 04, 2020

Previous news releases:

  • 2020-04-26: KS Gov. Kelly agrees to extended order against her for targeting churches, then tries to spin in her favor
  • 2020-04-18: Court halts KS governor from targeting churches in COVID-19 order
  • 2020-04-17: ADF sues KS governor over COVID-19 order that allows numerous gatherings, except churches


  • Tyson Langhofer: Gov. Laura Kelly is wrong to single out Kansas churches for punishment (Kansas City Star, 2020-04-24)

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