First Amendment

Ky. Supreme Court Upholds Convictions for Amish Who Say Orange Vehicle Symbols Violate Beliefs


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A Kentucky law challenged by Amish community members, which requires orange safety symbols on horse-drawn buggies, was upheld Thursday, with the state supreme court finding the ordinance did not violate religious freedom.

The opinion also upholds convictions for men who refused to place the safety symbols on their buggies, the Associated Press reports. Rather than pay the fines, many of them spent time in county jails.

According to the opinion (PDF), the individuals believed that the orange symbols forced them to violate a religious belief that they should “be plain.” Previously, a lower court found that a bright-orange symbol was superior to an alternative, gray reflective tape symbol that the individuals proposed.

The opinion notes that since the action was filed, Kentucky has changed its slow-moving vehicle law. Now, according to the AP, there’s an exemption that allows motorless vehicles to use 1-inch-wide reflective tape on the back and sides of the structures.

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