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By Stephanie Do and Todd Lard
The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky preliminarily enjoined Kentucky from denying tax incentives to a religious-based theme park. The court held that excluding the company from the state’s tax incentives program on the basis of the company’s religious beliefs, message and conduct violated the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment when the company met all of the neutral criteria for the program. The court further found that Kentucky’s constitutional provisions cannot be used to transform such First Amendment violations into permissible actions. Ark Encounter, LLC v. Don Parkinson, No. 15-13-GFVT (E.D. Ky. 2016).