Federal Judge Daniel Domenico has ruled that two restrictions the state of Colorado has imposed on religious gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic are unconstitutional: capacity limitations and an order that attendees keep their face masks on the entire time they are at the gathering.
In his ruling, Domenico noted that other types of gatherings in Colorado do not face the same restrictions.
"The Constitution does not allow the State to tell a congregation how large it can be when comparable secular gatherings are not so limited, or to tell a congregation that its reason for wishing to remove facial coverings is less important than a restaurant's or spa's," the judge wrote.
Domenico's ruling came in a lawsuit filed against the state by Community Baptist Church in Brighton and Denver Bible Church in Wheat Ridge.
"We have a right, even an obligation to worship him [God], and that's without government interference," Robert Enyart, pastor of Denver Bible Church, told CNN.
Enyart also said that the capacity limit made "it pretty much impossible for families to know if they could come to church."
"We were so thankful that a federal court would recognize our God-given right to worship him, our creator, without the government interfering," Enyart told a local TV news station.
The state has appealed Domenico's ruling, saying he "fatally erred" in his interpretation of the law that imposed the restrictions on religious gatherings. Other tenets of the law still stand, requiring churchgoers to practice social distancing, sanitize their hands and refrain from shaking hands.