The state of Nevada has agreed to pay a church $175,000 in legal fees after placing restrictions on houses of worship during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to The Christian Post, the Nevada Board of Examiners unanimously approved a request from the Office of the Attorney General to pay Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley $175,000 as the result of a tort claim.
Susan Brown, chief of the Board, explained that the payment was “to comply with the consent decree in this case that requires the state of Nevada to pay a reasonable attorney fees,” adding that the “cost will come out of the tort claim fund.”
In May 2020, Calvary filed a lawsuit against Nevada after Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak issued a 50-person cap on gatherings, regardless of building size. At the time, the church accused the governor of religious discrimination, given that secular businesses like casinos and gyms were able to operate at 50 percent capacity.
In June, a District Court judge ruled against Calvary Chapel, arguing that the church failed to prove that it was being discriminated against.
As Christian Headlines previously reported, the Dayton-based church then took the matter to the U.S Supreme Court, where the exemption from the 50-person cap was rejected in a 5-4 decision last July.
Last December, Calvary Chapel would win in court when a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously in favor of the church, arguing that Gov. Sisolak’s restrictions on religious gatherings were a violation of the First Amendment.
Further, the Ninth Circuit reversed the lower court’s ruling and prohibited the governor from imposing more restrictions on churches.
At the time of the ruling, in an interview with Fox and Friends, Calvary Chapel’s Senior Pastor Garry Leist expressed excitement over the fact that the church would be able to resume its in-person gatherings.
“We’re just extremely pleased to be able to come together to once again worship in person because of just how vital and essential it is to families of faith and the entire community,” he said.
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Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.