In what some call a win for religious freedom, Kentucky's General Assembly passed an Amish buggy bill on Tuesday that would exempt them from affixing orange safety triangles on the back of their carriages.
Instead of the bright orange safety triangles, the Amish will now use reflective silver or white tape on the back of their buggies.
The House voted 75-21 in favor of the Amish buggy bill. Senate Bill-75 was passed unanimously in the Senate and now will be signed into law by Gov. Steve Beshear.
The debate for the bill centered on religious rights vs. traffic safety, reported the Associated Press. Amish farmers in Kentucky served jail time for refusing to use the orange safety symbol because triangles represent the Trinity, which are not allowed to be displayed in their religion.
They also said the bright orange color of the signs drew unwarranted attention from passersby.
Orange safety triangles are needed in areas like Kentucky where large Amish populations reside.
Accidents between cars and buggies are common, with some being fatal. In mid-2011, a tractor trailer ran into the back of a buggy in Kentucky, killing an Amish child and injuring three. Last November an SUV crashed into a buggy, killing the 18-year-old Amish driver.
Senator Ken Winters told the Associated Press that the passage of the Amish buggy bill was a victory for religious freedom.
We've been able to accommodate a major issue in their lives,'' he said.
But Representative Fred Nesler did not think the bill had anything to do with religious freedom; it was merely about traffic laws.
My objection to is a safety issue,'' Nesler said to the Associated Press, further stating that reflective tape would not make the buggies visible during the day.
Winters said that wasn't the case, and that buggies are visible from 1,000 feet away when reflective tape is used. Amish drivers have already implemented the practice, lining the backs and the sides of their buggies in reflective tape.
Tea party activists and religious leaders all came out to support the Amish buggy bill.
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, said Mica Sims, a tea party activist to the Associated Press.