It’s a federal court win! Congratulations to the newlyweds! Rupp Baase is proud and honored to have secured an order in federal court enjoining enforcement of the 50-person limit on weddings. Our constitutional law attorneys, Tony Rupp, Phillip Oswald, and Chad Davenport successfully argued a likelihood of success in establishing that the 50-person limit violates the Constitution given that other secular gatherings in excess of 50 people are routinely allowed under New York State’s COVID rules.
Chief U.S. District Judge Glenn T. Suddaby issued the ruling Friday in a case that involved a couple who wanted to host 110 people at a wedding at a golf club restaurant in Akron, Erie County.
The 50-person limit on wedding parties was one of a raft of executive orders and special closures the governor imposed earlier in the year amid sharply rising rates of COVID-19 infections and deaths.
But that rankled some venue owners who host weddings and similar events, who noted that larger restaurants that don’t host weddings could still operate with more than 50 people as long as they were at half capacity.
Despite the ruling, Cuomo spokeswoman Caitlin Girouard said they were exploring ways, which would include an appeal and further court action, to keep the over 50 people wedding ban in place.
“The judge’s decision is irresponsible at best, as it would allow for large, non-essential gatherings that endanger public health. We will pursue all available legal remedies immediately and continue defending the policies that have led New York to having — and maintaining — one of the lowest infection rates in the country, while cases continue to rise in dozens of other states,” Girouard said.
The plaintiffs had argued that the ban violates Constitutional protections for freedom of speech and religion as well as the Equal Protection clause.
They also noted that the restaurant where they wanted their reception could normally run at half capacity with more than 50 people — so a wedding should be able to do the same – as long as other precautions were taken.
The plaintiffs also noted that other events such as mass demonstrations, special education classes and outdoor graduations were not limited to 50 people.
Read more about the federal court win here.