New York assembly approves religious symbol bill

Posted By: Angelica Montgomery · 1/17/2014 5:12:00 PM

New York state is in the process of passing its own legislation on religious attire that would have a near-opposite effect to the Quebec secularism charter.

The bill "clarifies" that it is illegal for an employer "to require a person to violate or forego the wearing attire, clothing, or facial hair."

It was approved by the state assembly this week with a vote of 133 to 1. The decision took place on the same day Quebec began its hearings into its charter of secularism.

"Someone's religion is sacred," says assemblyman David Weprin, who sponsored the bill. "Someone shouldn't have to chose between observing their religion and making a living and supporting their families."

Widespread support

The legislation, which must still be approved by the senate and sanctioned by the governor, could pass into law as early as February due to widespread support from both Republicans and Democrats.

Weprin says he started this initiative because after 9-11 some workers with the New York city transit authority had been transferred to positions where they would not be seen by the public because they had refused to take off a head covering or stick the authority's logo on it.

The Democratic politician says if there were any move to introduce a charter like Quebec's in New York, he would fight it. "I hope there would be some push back. I certainly would be one of the people to push back." 

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