Above: Illinois Right to Life Executive Director Mary Kate Knorr appeared on Friday afternoon's edition of CBN Newswatch to talk about the lawsuit against the state governor and his restrictions during the pandemic. Newswatch is seen weekdays on the CBN News Channel. For a programming schedule, click here.
A pro-life group in Illinois is suing the governor over their right to assemble during COVID-19 restrictions.
Illinois 'Right to Life' claims it followed the stay-at-home mandate but says Gov. J.B. Pritzker has unconstitutionally allowed certain groups to disregard the state's limits on the number of people who can gather together while holding other groups to a different standard.
The lawsuit seeks a temporary restraining order allowing the organization to gather in groups of more than 50 people.
"The governor has said it's okay for some organizations to gather, to fundraise and to rally support around their cause, but everyone else faces the threat of police enforcement or being shut down," said Illinois Right to Life Executive Director Mary Kate Knorr.
"Our request is simple: Equal treatment under the law. We want to be able to get our message out and do our work just like the other advocacy organizations and social causes that the governor has permitted to do so," she added.
Knorr doesn't believe the governor is biased against the organization, rather suggesting he may be unaware of the impact of his actions.
"I think the governor hasn't fully thought out his own actions. Gov. Pritzker walked in a Black Lives Matter protest with hundreds of other people... potentially thousands of other people, just a couple weeks ago," Knorr said. "The fact that groups like ours have been told that we can't assemble for the sake of the pro-life cause is a double standard."
She explained that educating the public on their cause is so important and being able to assemble in groups again will allow that to happen.
"Our focus is on educating the public and one of the primary ways we do that is with these large group gatherings. We have people come together for panels, training, and sessions. We're preparing for a tour in the fall and we'd like to be able to have more than 50 people at those events."
"We know there will be bills coming up during the veto session in the fall where people will want to gather and express their opinions about, so we're hoping at that time we'll be able to do that," Knorr concluded.
Liberty Justice Center President Patrick Hughes filed the lawsuit against the governor and points out that the First Amendment makes no exceptions, applying equally to all.
"The governor's actions are both hypocritical and illegal," Hughes said. "The First Amendment applies equally to everyone in Illinois — not only people whose political views are supported by Gov. Pritzker. The work and voice of Illinois Right to Life in the public sphere is just as critical and constitutionally protected as other voices."
A motion to temporarily stop the enforcement of the stay at home mandate will be heard in federal court on Monday.
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