(HARRISBURG, PA – October 31, 2023) On Monday, October 30th, the PA House of Representatives passed nearly unanimously the Religious Garb bill, Senate Bill 84, which would finally allow Pennsylvania to join every other state in the nation by removing current state prohibitions on teachers and educators from wearing any dress, emblem or insignia that indicates his or her faith or denomination.
“We applaud the PA General Assembly for enhancing religious freedoms here in our state,” says Randall Wenger, Senior Counsel for Pennsylvania Family Institute. “Pennsylvania is the last state in the nation with a law that unconstitutionally discriminates against teachers’ wearing of any religious garb. We want to see religious freedom flourish in Pennsylvania and this bill helps us achieve that worthy cause.”
The Religious Garb bill is a much needed solution for Pennsylvanians who wish to exercise their right to express their religion. The previous state law dates back to the early 1900s and was crafted in part by the Ku Klux Klan for anti-Catholic sentiment upon schools and educators. Pennsylvania is the only state left to still have a religious garb ban on educators as official state public school policy.
Led by State Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York), passing the Religious Garb bill into law would give teachers the First Amendment freedom to express their faith in ways like wearing a cross necklace.
“A teacher should not be worried about his or her job for simply wearing a cross on a necklace,” states Sen. Phillips-Hill. “Our First Amendment rights do not end simply because a teacher walks into a classroom.”
PA Family fully supports this Religious Garb legislation, which now goes to the governor’s desk for his signature.