Connecticut will no longer allow a religious exemption from childhood immunization requirements for schools, colleges and day care facilities, becoming the sixth state to end that policy.
The legislation was signed into law Wednesday, April 28 by Gov. Ned Lamont, hours after the Democratic-controlled Senate passed the bill late Tuesday night.
More than 2,000 opponents had rallied outside the state Capitol building, arguing the legislation unfairly infringes on their religious liberties and parental rights.
“Proud to sign this bill into law to protect as many of our school children as possible from infectious diseases as we can,” Lamont said in a tweet, announcing he had signed the contentious bill.
Senator Henri Martin (R-31) spoke in opposition to the bill, HB 6423, and shared the following statement after the vote:
"Personal choice and a parent's right to choose for their family are of paramount importance and even through the hours of debate today, there was never an adequate rationale presented as to why this policy change is needed and much less as to why it is needed now.
"While the government does have the right to step in when it comes to matters of protecting public safety, the data that I have seen does not indicate that we are actually in an emergency situation at present. A child's education is not worth jeopardizing nor is infringing on parent's rights if there is not a considerable improvement generated by this policy change.
"It is my hope that in the future that this legislative body will properly consider if the benefits of the measures they propose are actually worth the peripheral ramifications they may cause.”