A lawsuit against the Kentucky governor over COVID-19 restrictions claims he criminalized festive family dinners


Kenty governor Andy Beshear filed a lawsuit on Monday over new emergency orders against the rapid spread of the emergency coronavirus for “criminalizing” gala dinners and other personal activities of large families.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a group of religious schools, churches and families, opposing Beshear’s decision to temporarily ban personal occupations and limit indoor gatherings to a maximum of eight people. Two families from seven and Boone counties, with seven and nine children, respectively, accuse the governor of criminalizing their immediate family gatherings.

“Governor Beshear has criminalized their daily family dinners and other family activities at home,” the lawsuit says.

Chris Wiest told one of the three attorneys involved in the lawsuit Newsweek the governor’s provisions for indoor gatherings are too vague, especially for the large families he represents.

“One of my clients has nine children and they asked me,‘ Do my children have to sleep outside? “” Wiest said.

According to the way the emergency order was created, large families like its clients are technically forbidden to gather indoors at Thanksgiving, he said, adding, “I don’t think that’s what they intended.”

Beshear’s order states: “All indoor social gatherings are limited to a maximum
two (2) households and up to eight (8) people. The household is
individuals living together in the same home. “

At a news conference on Tuesday, the Democratic governor called the lawsuit “ridiculous.”

“No one is saying that a family of 10 can’t live together and eat together anymore,” Beshear said. “What we’re saying is if one family wants to marry another family, there are only two households – two groups living under one roof – and there are a total of eight people in that group.

“It’s ridiculous to suggest that we can’t have dinner with a big family,” he continued. “And I know there are lawyers who just itch about the fights or want to report news, but it’s silent, and we don’t have to consider these types of distractions with what we’re trying to save lives. And we’re doing it. We’ve saved lives.”

Beshear orders are valid until December 13th.


Attorney General Andy Beshear, now Governor of Kentucky, will speak to supporters on November 5, 2019, in Louisville.
John Sommers II / Getty

In the lawsuit, a group of Kentucky churches and religious schools claim Beshear’s new order, which will stop personal learning this week, is unconstitutional, while childcare centers, universities, movie theaters, grocery stores and other public spaces may operate with minor restrictions. . According to the lawsuit, forcing religious schools to suspend personal classes violates the protection of the First Amendment against the “free practice” of religion.

“The executive provisions of Governor Beshear, which constitute a political value judgment, unconstitutionally violate the autonomy of religious institutions and churches, in violation of the First Amendment,” the lawsuit argues. “Governor Beshear may not, in accordance with the First Amendment, tell religious institutions and churches that they may hold personal worship but may not hold personal schooling.”

In a similar lawsuit filed last week, joined by Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, 17 private schools are suing the governor for stopping personal learning in all K-12 schools in the state. The lawsuit argues that the order would prevent religious organizations from providing private education and is therefore unconstitutional.

Last week, Beshear asked religious leaders to suspend personal services to houses of worship due to outbreaks of coronavirus in the state. However, his request was simply a recommendation to church leaders after a federal court in May declared unauthorized a ban on church gatherings.

Two other plaintiffs involved in the recent lawsuit are filing a lawsuit against Beshear because they plan to hold “politically connected peaceful rallies of 15 to 20 people” that the governor has banned.

Beshear’s orders follow that Kentucky has seen a significant increase in the number of viruses in the past month. The state reported 2,690 new cases and 17 deaths on Tuesday. The number of confirmed cases in the state is now 134,739, with 1,764 confirmed deaths. More than 1,600 people in the state are hospitalized using COVID-19.

Kentucky ranks 22nd among the states in terms of the fastest spread of the virus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University data from the USA Today Network.

At Tuesday’s press conference, Beshear pleaded for Kentuckians to avoid big Thanksgiving rallies.

“As we have shown, we are showing exponential growth in our cases here in the Commonwealth,” Beshear said. “If we don’t stop the exponential growth of cases, we will exceed our health capacity. Doctors and nurses will run out.”

He added: “Although we want to test more people, we believe people are being tested and if they show a negative result, they think it could be a big Thanksgiving. I hope that is not the case. [negative] The COVID-19 test cannot guarantee a safe Thanksgiving day. “

Newsweek contacted Beshear’s office to comment, but did not receive a timely response to publication.