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Oregon Lawmakers Lift Ban On Teachers' Religious Garb


Oregon lawmakers Tuesday voted to repeal an 87-year-old law that bans public school teachers from wearing religious clothing in the classroom. Supporters of lifting the restriction say it discriminates against religious minorities.

Muslim teachers testified in favor of the change so they could legally wear their head scarves on the job. Republican Senator Jason Atkinson says the measure is about fairness.

Jason Atkinson: “The bill really addresses one thing: Does religious freedom in a public space extend to every faith.”

Opponents included some Democrats and the ACLU. They argued a classroom should be a religiously neutral environment. They said allowing teachers to wear religious clothing opens the door to proselytizing. The measure now heads to the governor's desk.

Lawmakers are on track to finish their special session a few days early, possibly as soon as Wednesday.


On the Web: Oregon House Bill 3686

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