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California Gov. Gavin Newsom

(The Center Square) – Harvest Rock Church and Harvest International Ministry filed a renewed motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against Gov. Gavin Newsom's ban on indoor church services after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in their favor last week.

The Supreme Court vacated lower court orders that rejected emergency petitions filed by the churches, and directed the district court to reconsider its ruling after the nation's highest court granted an injunction for churches and synagogues in New York.

Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver, representing Harvest Rock Church and its ministries, said, “The ruling by the Supreme Court on behalf of Harvest Rock Church and Harvest International Ministry provides great relief for churches and places of worship. The High Court has vacated the rulings of the lower courts and strongly encouraged the district court to make its decision based on the New York ruling. The final days of Governor Gavin Newsom’s ‘color-coded executive edicts’ banning worship are numbered and coming to an end.”

Both the district court and the Ninth Circuit previously denied the churches’ requests for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction, rulings that were vacated by the U.S. Supreme Court.

In the New York case, New York City synagogues and Roman Catholic churches under the jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn sued New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, In a 5-4 opinion, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs. The court held that Cuomo’s “very severe” limitations on church attendance in the state’s COVID red and orange zones violate their First Amendment right to free exercise of religion and are not the least restrictive means of preventing coronavirus or any other type of infection.

Liberty Counsel argues the restrictions against places of worship in California are more severe than those in New York. California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s orders ban all in-person worship for 99.1 percent of Californians.

Harvest Rock Church has multiple campuses in California, including in Pasadena, Los Angeles, Irvine and Corona and 162 member churches of its international ministry throughout the state, all of which had been subject to daily fines and criminal threats.

The Code Enforcement Division for the city of Pasadena and the criminal prosecutor have threatened criminal charges, fines, and closure against Harvest Rock Church for continuing to hold in-person church services against the governor’s and local health orders. The city has threatened the pastor, church employees and members with up to one year in prison, daily criminal charges and $1,000 fines for violating orders.