LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The United States Supreme Court voted 5-4 that now bars the state of New York from imposing rules that set limitations on attendance for houses of worship.
Although the ruling did not have any impact on Arkansas, lawmakers were paying attention to how this case was approached. State Senator-elect Ben Gilmore said, “I think you have to be careful not to get in a slippery slope earth well it might just be temporary but we’re still restricting first amendment rights and so I think we have to air on the side protecting our constitutional liberties.”
Representative-elect David Ray believes what New York was trying to do was draconian and unfairly targeted religious facilities, “Americans don’t have a constitutional right to visit a bike shop or pull the lever on a slot machine at a casino they do have a constitutional right to visit a house of worship though.”
In many states religious centers have been epicenters to Covid-19 breakouts, but Gilmore says that shouldn’t matter when it comes to First Amendment rights, “Even during times of pandemic like we’re now the constitution cannot be forgotten.”
Both Gilmore and Ray said that they appreciate Governor Asa Hutchinson being more targeted in his approach in enacting any restrictions in Arkansas. Ray said, “I’m thankful that our governor has not taken some of them or draconian measures that we’ve seen in states like New York and California.”
The Supreme Court’s action will not have any immediate impact since the groups that brought forth the suit are now under less-restrictive rules in the state of New York.