Top US court blocks virus curbs on religious services

By Ovunc Kutlu

ANKARA (AA) – The US Supreme Court on Wednesday night blocked the state of New York from imposing limits on attendance at religious services.

Andrew Cuomo, governor of New York, had placed strict limits on the number of people allowed to gather in houses of worship, mostly in areas hit hardest in the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a 5-4 ruling, the court said the restrictions on gatherings in churches, synagogues, and other houses of worship were against the law, highlighting the impact of new conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett on the Court.

“Even in a pandemic, the Constitution cannot be put away and forgotten,” read the court ruling.

“The restrictions at issue here, by effectively barring many from attending religious services, strike at the very heart of the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious liberty.”

Earlier this week, Cuomo criticized a Hasidic synagogue for holding a massive secret wedding, calling it “illegal.”

The wedding at Yetev Lev temple in Williamsburg district was attended by some 7,000 people who were not wearing any face masks and mingled in close proximity in the closed space.

With 34,388 fatalities so far, the state of New York has the highest COVID-19 death toll in the US, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

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