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Judge Defers Ruling On LA County's Request For Injunction Against Church In Sun Valley Holding Indoor Services

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) -- A Los Angeles Superior Court judge is expected to have a decision sometime next week regarding a Sun Valley church's holding in-person church services in defiance of coronavirus health orders.

L.A. County lawyers lost four tries for a temporary restraining order against Grace Community Church, directing leaders to refrain from holding packed indoor services.

"I recognize the importance of the decision,'' Judge Mitchell L. Beckloff said after an hours-long hearing on Friday.

Even though an order has not yet been issued by the judge, Beckloff said he won't allow Gov. Gavin Newsom to file a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the county's stand.

L.A. County sued Grace Community Church on Aug. 14 after it began holding indoor services on Sundays.

The church, led by Pastor John MacArthur, filed a suit against the county in response and that case is awaiting trial in Burbank Superior Court.

MacArthur has argued that he's holding services not to be "rebellious" but because "our Lord has commanded us to come together."

Attorney Amnon Siegel, who is arguing on behalf of the county, pushed back saying "religion doesn't trump health and safety."

Outdoor religious services are permitted in the county alongside other measures to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Once it is safe to return to indoor services and resume other operations, county officials said coronavirus gathering restrictions will be relaxed.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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