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Amish Buggy Bill Religious Victory or Traffic Hazard?

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By Brittney R. Villalva, Christian Post Reporter
March 28, 2012|10:58 am

A new bill passed in Kentucky has excited many Amish members who consider the passage of the bill a "victory for religious liberty."

A new bill went through its final stage of legislation during Kentucky's General Assembly on Tuesday night. The bill concerns a current law, which requires Amish members to affix bright orange traffic triangles to the back of their slow moving buggies.

The issue has raised concerns in regards to traffic safety. Fatal accidents between the dark colored buggies and fast moving cars have occurred in the past. However despite safety issues, many Amish members still refuse to put the orange traffic triangle on the back of their buggies, citing religious reasons.

"They objected on religious grounds that the triangular shape represents the Trinity, which they are not allowed to display, and also called undue attention to them against the norms of their religion," the Associated Press reported.

After the bill passed Senate, House legislators voted in favor of the bill as well 75-21. The new legislation will allow the Amish to replace the orange traffic triangle with white or reflective tape.

Some rejoiced over what was considered to be a religious victory. "We've been able to accommodate a major issue in their lives," Sen. Ken Winters, R-Murray, who represents an Amish community, told AP news.

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Some felt the issue was a victory that expanded beyond religious freedom.

"I don't think it is a question of religious rights or freedoms. I think it is more about the government telling us what we MUST and cannot do," Browne455 wrote on the ABC blog.

"It's important to me because, I'm not Amish, but one day the government could attack my beliefs, and I would want the Amish to stick up for me," Mica Sims, a Lexington tea party activist, told AP News.

Others were still concerned about the safety issues raised. Most fatal accidents resulted in the deaths of those who were riding in the buggies. "My objection to is a safety issue," Rep. Fred Nesler, D-Mayfield said.

"What they need is actual lights on the buggies. Anything short of that is suicide for the folks in the buggy, and a legal nightmare for the innocent person that accidently hits them," fohledu added to the ABC blog.

 

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