The Attorney General's office is committed to upholding the Constitution by defending the religious liberty of Kentuckians. Even though the First Amendment has protected religious beliefs from government interference for over two centuries, this freedom continues to be tested. Since taking office, Attorney General Cameron has fought to protect the rights of Kentucky's citizens to pursue our sincerely held religious beliefs.
Re-opening Houses of Worship
Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, Kentucky's houses of worship were ordered to close, while big-box stores, shopping malls, laundromats, and offices were allowed to remain open.
Attorney General Cameron acted quickly by filing an amicus brief arguing that the Beshear Administration's executive actions against Kentucky churches discriminated against religion. Attorney General Cameron then joined a Kentucky church in filing a lawsuit to enable churches across the Commonwealth to re-open their doors. Less than one week after filing this lawsuit, the court ruled that Kentucky churches could hold in-person worship services. In their order, the court explained that “it would be easy” to put the Constitution “on the shelf in times like this, to be pulled down and dusted off when more convenient. But that is not our tradition."
Protecting Religious K-12 Schools
When another executive order threatened the religious liberty of Kentuckians by shutting down all of Kentucky's religious K-12 schools, Attorney General Cameron filed a lawsuit alongside a Christian school to stop the unconstitutional order banning in-person instruction at religious schools. Over 1,000 Kentucky parents filed an amicus brief supporting this lawsuit.
A federal court agreed with the Attorney General's office and ordered that religious K-12 schools could remain open. After the Sixth Circuit stayed the federal court's ruling, Attorney General Cameron sought relief from the United States Supreme Court. Because the school-closure executive order was about to expire, the Supreme Court, in a divided vote, declined to decide the dispute. But, the Supreme Court made clear that Attorney General Cameron could seek relief again "if the Governor issues a new school-closing order in the new year."
Other Actions Safeguarding Free Exercise of Religion
Attorney General Cameron sent a letter urging the Beshear Administration to respect the sincerely held beliefs of Sunrise Children's Services, the largest private residential childcare provider in Kentucky. In the letter, the Attorney General argued that, under the First Amendment, Sunrise should not have to choose between following its sincerely held religious beliefs and serving Kentucky children.