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Amish Jailed Over Vehicle Violations

By Josh James


Lexington, KY – A group of Amish men is asking the Kentucky Supreme Court to exempt them from a state requirement that they use orange highway signs on their horse-drawn buggies.

The Amish men, ten of whom are now behind bars in Western Kentucky, say the bright orange signs conflict with tenets of their religion, which require them to live a plain life, free of flashy colors. Some have refused to pay fines for violating the slow-moving vehicle law. William Sharp, an attorney with the Kentucky American Civil Liberties Union, filed a brief laying out arguments by the men on Thursday. The Kentucky Supreme Court has agreed to the case, but has not yet set a date.

Kentucky isn't the first state to deal with the issue. Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York have allowed exemptions for the Amish. But prosecutors in Kentucky say the vehicle laws are needed to help motorists see the buggies and avoid collisions.