55 New York families sue the state to stop the repeal of the religious exemptions to vaccines

Posted at 3:12 PM, Jul 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-10 15:14:07-04

ALBANY, N.Y. (WKBW) — 55 New York State families have filed a lawsuit in New York State Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of the repeal of the religious exemption to vaccination by the New York State Legislature.

The families, represented by attorneys Michael H. Sussman and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., held lawful religious exemptions and request the court temporarily block the repeal and ultimately overturn it.

The plaintiffs are of diverse religious faiths, including Christianity, Judaism and Islam. As a result of the repeal, these families can no longer educate their children in any schools or camps in New York without violating their religious faith. The parents who bring the suit seek to represent thousands of other families likewise affected by the repeal.
Attorneys for the 55 families

The complaint argues the repeal violates state and federal law and repealing the religious exemption without a public hearing interferes with religious freedom.

To deprive families of the rights to freedom of religious expression, parental rights, and the right to either a public or private education, the state must demonstrate a “compelling state interest” that the state has failed to prove here.
Michael H. Sussman
Religious rights are fundamental. It is unconstitutional for the state to deprive people of such important rights when religious animus has played a key role. To enact such harsh legislation without any legislative fact-finding, and with the legislators’ open display of prejudice towards religious beliefs different than their own, is simply un-American; it is essential that we fight this
Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Chief Legal Counsel for Children's Health Defense