LENAWEE COUNTY, Mich. (WTVG) - Some members of the Amish community in Lenawee County have been told their homes are unfit for habitation and that they must leave.
It's now sparking debate between religious freedom and promoting good health. This is already wrapped up in the courts and probably will be for a while. This step is very unusual for the Amish community that rarely interacts with lawyers and the legal system. That's when we see if religious rights or public health win out.
You may not have even realized it but there's a significant Amish community in Lenawee County. 13abc met one of the women who lives there Thursday. She and her family arrived about 4 years ago. They soon may be forced from this home.
"Little scary, it's scary," said the woman who asked not to be identified.
Her home like about a dozen others got these notices saying the homes were unfit for habitation.
"We figured we could figure it out somehow but I don’t know it seems like everything we offer them it's just.... nothing," said the Amish home owner.
According to the Lenawee County administrator the issue are water and this discharge of human waste and sewage. The county says it has tried for years to get these homes into compliance with no luck. County administrator Marty Marshall says the goal is compliance, they don't want to force people from their homes. The owners want to stay too.
"We hope we can,” the Amish home owner told 13abc.
The ACLU of Michigan is now representing the Amish families in court. A spokesman says this is an attack on religion. The ACLU saying says these families are not harming anyone and they've lived there peacefully just like other Amish families have all over the country for generations. The county administrator says this is not an issue of religion but an issue of public health.
"We hope god will help us out," added the Amish home owner.
There is a court hearing on this case scheduled for March. Some of the court filings did indicate that both sides have talked about some compromise to resolve this and trying to figure it out but so far no agreements.