Weld County Church Suing Governor Polis for Discrimination
The High Plains Harvest Church in Ault is suing Governor Polis over his COVID-19 gathering restrictions, claiming that they discriminate against religious institutions.
According to The Denver Post, the church's pastor Mark Hotaling filed the lawsuit, which also addresses Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Health and Environment Jill Ryan, on May 25.
Hotaling is taking particular issue with the state's in-person gathering limits, which have decreased the number of people allowed in his church from 150 to 50.
He is calling the restrictions a "religious liberties issue," telling CBS4 Denver that it is unfair for Polis to allow other businesses to fully reopen, but not the church.
"You can go to Lowe's or Home Depot, and hundreds of people are buying lumber and gardening supplies," Hotaling said in an interview with the station. "It is time for the church to have the same freedom that a big box store has. Houses of worship should be able to freely exercise [religion] under the First Amendment...we are being prohibited in doing that right now."
He noted that the church has already stocked up on masks and hand sanitizer, and is prepared to enforce social distancing.
The Governor's office has refused to comment on the lawsuit, which is still pending, so far.