Saturday, November 15, 2008

As Amish population booms in Kentucky, one sect fights law requiring safety emblems on buggies

We reported in August that the Amish population in the U.S. had nearly doubled last 16 years. This week, Peter Smith of The Courier-Journal in Louisville reported that the population in Kentucky has nearly tripled, and gave us an idea why: high birth rates and moderate land prices.

"It's pretty good farmland here, pretty nice land. Cheaper than where we came from," Jacob Gingerich, who moved from Tennessee to Graves County in far Western Kentucky. The county is the site of a legal dispute, with members of one sect, the Swartzenrubers, fighting a state law that requires them to use slow-moving-vehicle safety emblems on their buggies. (Photo by Matt Schorr of The Mayfield Messenger) Friday night, seven were convicted and ordered to pay fines. Their lawyer, from the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky, said they would appeal. Gingerich and some other Swartzenrubers paid fines for violating the law last year.

Smith's report is based on estimates of researchers at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania, who were the basis for our report from Reuters in August. They figured that there are 8,505 Amish in Kentucky, up from 2,835 a decade and a half ago. (Read more)

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