A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging a law passed last year that ended Connecticut’s long-standing religious exemptions From childhood vaccination requirements to schools, colleges and day care facilities, it says the state has an interest in protecting the health of Connecticut students.
In a 33-page ruling, US District Court Judge Janet Bond Arterton said the plaintiffs failed to prove that the state’s decision to end the exemption was “motivated by any religious enmity”, the state’s Legislators publicly took into account concerns about the increasing number of religious exemptions sought by families and declining vaccination rates.
“Connecticut has chosen to protect the safety of schoolchildren by requiring all students who can be safely vaccinated to be vaccinated in grades kindergarten through twelve with existing religious exemptions. , and this same interest is not advanced by a broad religious exemption that jeopardizes community immunity,” wrote Arterton. The ruling was issued late Tuesday.
The lawsuit was filed by We the Patriots USA, Inc., CT Freedom Alliance, LLC, and three parent groups of Connecticut schoolchildren. Brian Festa, the founder of the CT Freedom Alliance, said in an online statement that the plaintiffs were looking forward to the judge’s decision.
“We have said from the outset that we strongly believe that this case will be won in the United States Supreme Court and not in the District Court, or in the Second Circuit,” wrote Festa, an attorney. He said the plaintiffs plan to appeal the verdict expeditiously in the hope that the matter will eventually reach the country’s highest court.
“Frankly, we want the matter to go right there, so that when we are victorious (as we fully hope), a new day will dawn in this country, when no state has ever deprived a child. education based on sincere religious beliefs of the child,” he wrote, urging supporters to “never lose faith.”
Democrat Attorney General William Tong praised Arterton’s decision, which dismissed all five of the plaintiffs’ claims on various grounds.
“Vaccines save lives. The legislature’s action was absolutely legitimate and necessary to protect public health,” he said in a written statement issued Wednesday. “The plaintiffs threw up a laundry list of claims against the state, and every One count was rejected.”
COVID-19 vaccines are not included in the list of essential vaccines required by the state.