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May 28, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Ohio’s Senate has passed legislation stipulating that the state’s governor or any public official do not have the right to close places of worship.

Citizens for Community Values president Aaron Bae welcomed the news, saying “the Ohio Senate sends a crystal-clear message: no governor has the authority to stop us from peaceably assembling to worship Jesus Christ,” while noting that the “bill extends this same protection to all people of faith.”

While churches around the United States have been closed as part of coronavirus lockdown restrictions, Ohio’s Republican governor, Mike DeWine, has never attempted to close churches. However, Ohio’s Catholic bishops voluntarily closed churches in mid-March and suspended public Masses until this week.

“Throughout America, governors have exercised unlawful executive power, attacking our First Amendment freedoms. Some have gone so far as to order churches closed,” Baer said.

“No one should have to go to court to protect our fundamental freedoms of religion. CCV is grateful for the leadership of Senate President (Larry) Obhof and the Ohio Senate for sending this simple, yet essential message.”

The legislation was passed as an amendment yesterday to House Bill 272 and will still have to be approved by Ohio’s House of Representatives.

Last week, President Donald Trump declared houses of worship “essential places that provide essential services,” saying they should be opened right away and that state governors who get in the way will have to answer to him.

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