On August 7, 2020, Judge Glenn Suddaby of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York ruled that Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 50-person limit on non-essential gatherings was unconstitutional as applied to religious wedding ceremonies.
According to the New York Post, two couples sued the Governor on the grounds that the 50-person limit violated their constitutional rights because their religious wedding ceremonies were being treated differently from graduation ceremonies, restaurants, and protests. The couples “asked to be allowed to host around 100 guests each at the Arrowhead Golf Club in Akron, stating that the venue should be subject to the same rules allowing indoor dining to operate at 50 percent capacity in that part of the state.”
Bride Jenna DiMartile said, “‘I think it’s something worth fighting for, if we really do believe in the meaning of marriage for people to be witnesses of our covenant before God.’” The co-owner of the Arrowhead Golf Club added that the Governor’s limit on nonessential gatherings allowed the Club’s restaurant to open at 50% capacity (seating approximately 200 diners), but would allow only 50 wedding guests in the very same space. The Cuomo administration criticized Judge Suddaby’s decision, calling it “‘irresponsible at best.’”
At New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, we are not surprised that the Cuomo administration refers to religious weddings as “non-essential gatherings.” However, we cannot help but notice the irony. In 2011, the Governor issued a “message of necessity” to expedite the passage of same-sex “marriage” legislation. To this Governor, same-sex “marriages” are necessary, but religious weddings are “non-essential.” No surprise here; this mindset is consistent with the Andrew Cuomo we’ve come to know.