A church in Milford, Connecticut, is filing suit against the state government, claiming its First Amendment rights have been violated by a vaccination mandate.
In 2021, the state of Connecticut altered a law titled "An Act Concerning Immunizations" to remove all exemptions to vaccination requirements except medical instances.
Milford Christian Church refused to compel students in its pre-K program and K-12 Academy to get a vaccine, claiming it violated its religious conscience to mandate the injections.
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The state informed Milford Christian Church "that they had a choice between compelling their students to vaccinate, expelling them if they didn't, or facing the forceable state closure," according to attorney Cameron Atkinson, who is representing the church.
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"Our message to the state is clear. We will obey God first," Atkinson told reporters at a press conference Friday.
The Connecticut State Department of Education, the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood and the Connecticut Department of Public Health are listed in the lawsuit.
"It would halt the academic progress, and I want my daughter to be able to start kindergarten when it's time for her to start kindergarten," parent Marlene Beauregard, who has a child in the church's pre-K program, told Fox61. "And now someone is trying to underride my parental rights, my religious right."
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The Connecticut government is working with Milford Christian Church to reach an agreement that will keep students in school while the legal dispute continues.
"The plaintiff will submit information to the court as early as today to provide clarity," the attorney general's office told FOX61.
"As always, the state prefers to work with schools collaboratively to meet licensure requirements and avoid any interruption in the education of students. That being said, vaccines save lives. The legislature’s action was fully lawful and necessary to protect public health. We have successfully defended multiple baseless challenges to this statute and will continue to defend the statute."