Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall stands behind Amish community’s rights amidst New York’s vaccine requirements

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall has joined forces with 19 other states to show support for the religious freedoms of the Amish community in rural New York.

In 2019, the state made the decision to eliminate religious exemptions for vaccinations due to a measles outbreak.

Marshall, in an amicus brief, supported the Amish and Amish schools, along with Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia.

The brief contends that denying religious exemptions for vaccine mandates imposes significant consequences on Amish schools and infringes upon parents’ First Amendment rights to practice their religion and raise their children in accordance with their religious convictions.

According to Marshall, the state of New York shows a lack of respect for religion by actively targeting, harassing, and intimidating Amish communities who simply wish to practice their faith in peace. He believes that parents should not be put in a position where they have to choose between their children’s education and their fundamental rights.

The First Amendment was specifically crafted to safeguard religious minorities such as the Amish. It is worth noting that the current law discriminates against religion by allowing unvaccinated students to cite “health” reasons instead of religious ones.

The states in the brief expressed their concern about a growing trend to limit the long-standing liberties protected by the First Amendment by eliminating religious exemptions for vaccine requirements. This concern arises after California, Connecticut, Maine, and New York have all ceased to accept such exemptions.

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