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Judge rejects lawsuit over Virginia stay-at-home order; no religious exemption

A Virginia man argued the governor's stay-at-home order infringed on his religious freedom and sought an exception that would allow attendance at Easter services.
Credit: AP Photo/Steve Helber
An empty sanctuary awaits parishioners on Palm Sunday at Saint Mary's Catholic Church Sunday April 5, 2020, in Richmond, Va. The church is not holding Mass but is opening the sanctuary for prayer.

FALLS CHURCH, Va. — A judge in southwest Virginia has rejected a lawsuit that sought to carve ought a religious exemption to Governor Ralph Northam's executive order requiring people to stay at home. 

Russell County resident Larry Hughes filed the lawsuit this week. He said the governor's stay-at-home order infringed on his religious freedom and sought an exception that would allow attendance at Easter services this Sunday. 

Democratic Attorney General Mark Herring's office defended the executive order during a hearing Thursday. Russell County Circuit Court Judge Michael Moore left the executive order intact at the conclusion of the hearing.

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