SEVERE WX : Wind Advisory - Winter Weather Advisory View Alerts

Churches in Josephine and Douglas counties sue Gov. Brown in federal court

A Christian advocacy group is representing two southern Oregon churches in a new lawsuit taking aim at Governor Brown's coronavirus restrictions.

Posted: May 26, 2020 5:15 PM
Updated: May 26, 2020 5:40 PM

GRANTS PASS, Ore. — Two southern Oregon churches have filed a new lawsuit, this time in federal court, against Governor Kate Brown — alleging that her coronavirus restrictions unfairly target faith-based organizations.

A previous lawsuit from a coalition of Oregon churches and individuals recently resulted in a County judge rendering Brown's orders "null and void" before a stay from the Oregon Supreme Court temporarily kept them in place. That case remains pending at the state Supreme Court.

In this new case, two churches in Josephine and Douglas counties are represented by attorneys from Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a Christian nonprofit advocacy group based in Arizona.

A statement from ADF took aim at Brown's ban on gatherings of 25 or more people, claiming that the order "allows pastors to be jailed up to 30 days and fined $1,250 for going to church with 25 other people on a Sunday morning, when they can join those same people and more at a dine-in restaurant for Sunday lunch with no penalty."


RELATED: Roseburg restaurant fined nearly $14K for opening against order


Governor Brown's executive orders do allow for dine-in service at restaurants for counties with Phase I approval, however restaurants and retail establishments still face considerable restrictions and sanitation requirements. Restaurants, for example, must keep tables spaced six feet apart, limit parties to 10 people or fewer, and limit customer capacity to ensure strict physical distancing.

“While responding to crises can be difficult, this case is not,” said ADF attorney Caleb Dalton. “There is no legitimate justification for banning church services of 26 or more — with responsible social distancing and health and safety protocols — while allowing malls, gyms, restaurants, and retail establishments to fill to social-distancing capacity.”

ADF said that its attorneys have filed the suit at the U.S. District Court in Eugene. The listed plaintiff is Edgewater Christian Fellowship, a Grants Pass church.

Both Edgewater and its Douglas County counterpart plan are planning to resume in-person services on May 31, ADF said — with "strict social distancing and health and safety protocols" in place — despite the potential for criminal or civil penalties.

ADF said that a motion for an immediate temporary retraining order to halt Governor Brown's restrictions would be forthcoming.

This is a developing story and NewsWatch 12 will update the article with more details as they emerge.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 154554

Reported Deaths: 2204
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah31785528
Washington21060212
Marion18335285
Clackamas13310175
Lane10172126
Jackson8299111
Umatilla763181
Deschutes591859
Yamhill375964
Linn356556
Malheur334358
Polk302942
Klamath277455
Douglas242853
Benton231816
Josephine231649
Jefferson195028
Coos142519
Union127519
Columbia124321
Wasco122026
Lincoln112820
Hood River106329
Morrow104414
Clatsop7756
Crook77518
Baker6487
Curry4166
Tillamook4122
Lake3746
Harney2726
Grant2221
Wallowa1424
Gilliam531
Sherman530
Wheeler221
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3554629

Reported Deaths: 51395
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles118754221106
Riverside2891853749
San Bernardino2853342673
Orange2603483889
San Diego2589823260
Santa Clara1098411765
Kern102627811
Fresno947941412
Sacramento929441464
Alameda800881224
Ventura77238834
San Joaquin665691082
Contra Costa62164674
Stanislaus55775944
Tulare47784746
Monterey42138327
San Mateo38763515
San Francisco34061398
Santa Barbara31763407
Solano29968164
Merced28915395
Sonoma27954298
Imperial26843589
Kings21951218
Placer19713231
San Luis Obispo19612227
Madera15390209
Santa Cruz14588183
Marin13136197
Yolo12760185
Shasta10944174
Butte10915160
El Dorado9095100
Napa897668
Sutter884597
San Benito574359
Yuba573336
Lassen560119
Tehama508152
Tuolumne394659
Nevada393274
Mendocino379643
Amador344441
Humboldt316033
Lake313440
Glenn221023
Colusa212813
Calaveras190547
Siskiyou174014
Inyo128736
Mono12114
Del Norte9875
Plumas6536
Modoc4524
Mariposa3947
Trinity3675
Sierra990
Alpine810
Unassigned00
Medford
Partly Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 36°
Brookings
Partly Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 41°
Medford
Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 22° Lo: 15°
Feels Like: 36°
Medford
Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 36°
Klamath Falls
Mostly Cloudy
30° wxIcon
Hi: 35° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 21°
Drying out, winds diminish this weekend
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events