Elisabeth Nieshalla. 2021. “Red States, Conservatives Move to Protect Against ‘Vaccine Passports,’ a ‘Medical Apartheid.’” CNSNews.Com. July 19, 2021. https://www.cnsnews.com/blog/elisabeth-nieshalla/red-states-conservatives-move-protect-against-vaccine-passports-medical.
Republican state legislatures are pushing to enact laws that, much like the federal civil rights laws that provide protections surrounding gender, race and religion, would ban discrimination against people who do not have the COVID-19 vaccine.
Several states, including Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Michigan, and Texas, have passed legislation that bans the use vaccine passports, but some states are pushing further to protect against current and potential discrimination of people based on whether or not they have received the COVID vaccine.
Montana is leading the way as the only state so far to pass such a bill into law. Montana lawmakers and the governor made it illegal to deny “goods, facilities, advantages, privileges, licensing, educational opportunities, health care access, or employment opportunities based on the person’s vaccination status.”
The law was passed on the basis of a person’s right to medical privacy, which is protected under Article II, section 10 of the Montana Constitution.
“This is a civil rights statute. It absolutely is,” said Nicholas Bagley, a law professor at the University of Michigan. “What this law is saying is that a restriction directed at the unvaccinated is prohibited in the same way as you’d be prohibited from putting up a sign saying, ‘No Irish Admitted.'”