The U.S. Supreme Court issued an order that will block California from enforcing restrictions on in-home religious gatherings.
The court ruled that California's rule limiting at-home religious gatherings to three households violates the First Amendment's protection of religious exercise.
"California treats some comparable secular activities more favorably than at-home religious exercise, permitting hair salons, retail stores, personal care services, movie theaters, private suites at sporting events and concerts, and indoor restaurants to bring together more than three households at a time," said the majority opinion.
Multiple churches have challenged state and local coronavirus restrictions on worship services and gatherings during the pandemic.
The petitioners say they "sincerely believe assembling for small-group, ‘house church' fellowship is just as indispensable to their faith as attending Mass is for a Catholic."
"Although California officials changed the challenged policy shortly after this application was filed, the previous restrictions remain in place until April 15th, and officials with a track record of ‘moving the goalposts' retain authority to reinstate those heightened restrictions at any time," the Supreme Court said.