Governor Northam’s restrictions on religious expression are overly broad, discriminatory, and unconstitutional
— Harmeet Dhillon
CEO | Center for American Liberty
On behalf of the Diaz-Bonilla family, the Center for American Liberty in coordination with Simms Showers LLP and the Dhillon Law Group, filed a lawsuit in federal court against Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring for depriving plaintiffs of their First Amendment rights.
Diaz-Bonilla are a nuclear family of 12. Under Executive Order 53, which currently governs Plaintiffs’ region of Virginia, as a family, they are prohibited from participating in a worship service at their Catholic Church. Yet, they are not prohibited, as a family, from going to secular establishments—home improvement stores, electronic retailers, grocery stores, laundromats, etc.
Executive Order 53 also prohibits plaintiffs from going to the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession), receiving the Sacrament of the Eucharist (Holy Communion), and praying on their private property with their priest and other believers.
Northam issued Executive Order 53 on March 20, restricting public and private religious gatherings to 10 people or less.
Northam released his plan to reopen Virginia in phases on May 8 and most of Virginia was allowed to enter into Phase 1 on May 15.
However, for Northern Virginia residents, including the plaintiffs in this case, were not. As of May 20, Northam has not announced when Northern Virginia residents may enter into Phase 1.
Even if Northam eases restrictions on Northern Virginia and the region enters into Phase 1, plaintiff’s First Amendment rights will still be violated.