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Breaking: Capitol Hill Baptist Church and Washington, DC Reach Settlement After City Prevented Church from Gathering

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July 8, 2021

News Release
For Immediate Release: 7.8.21
Contact: Lacey McNiel, media@firstliberty.org
Direct: 972-941-4453

Breaking: Capitol Hill Baptist Church and Washington, DC Reach Settlement After City Prevented Church from Gathering
First Liberty Institute and law firm WilmerHale filed lawsuit on behalf of church when city shut down religious gatherings during COVID

Washington, DC— First Liberty Institute today announced that, on behalf of its client Capitol Hill Baptist Church (“CHBC”), it reached a favorable settlement with the District of Columbia and Mayor Muriel Browser after the church filed a federal lawsuit challenging the District’s restrictions on gatherings at places of worship during the COVID-19 pandemic.

You can read the settlement here.

“All Capitol Hill Baptist Church ever asked is for equal treatment under the law so they could meet together safely as a church,” said Hiram Sasser, Executive General Counsel for First Liberty Institute.  “The church is relieved and grateful that this ordeal is behind them.  Government officials need to know that illegal restrictions on First Amendment rights are intolerable and costly.”

Capitol Hill Baptist Church (CHBC) in Washington, DC believes that meeting together is what makes a church a church.  On September 22, 2020, the church filed a lawsuit through WilmerHale LLP and First Liberty Institute seeking the ability to hold outdoor church services in the District of Columbia while masked and socially-distanced.  On October 9, 2020, the United States Court for the District of Columbia granted CHBC a preliminary injunction, enjoining the DC government from prohibiting such a gathering.

In the settlement, the District agrees that it will not enforce any “current or future” restrictions on CHBC gatherings.  The District also agreed to pay CHBC’s legal fees.

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About First Liberty Institute

First Liberty Institute is a non-profit public interest law firm and the largest legal organization in the nation dedicated exclusively to defending religious freedom for all Americans.

 

To arrange an interview, contact Lacey McNiel at media@firstliberty.org or by calling 972-941-4453.

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