Media Contact

Curt Guyette, (586) 925-0493,

Richard Schulte, (937) 435-7500,;

September 14, 2023


DETROIT – In a victory for religious liberty after nearly four years of litigation, Lenawee County has agreed to allow Amish families to live and farm in accordance with their religious beliefs. The Lenawee County Board of Commissioners voted on Wednesday to dismiss a series of lawsuits the Lenawee County Health Department (LCHD) brought against approximately one dozen Amish families in 2019 and enter into a consent judgment that will allow the Amish to continue their traditional way of life.

Through its lawsuits, the LCHD sought to seize and destroy every Amish-owned home in the county unless the Amish adopted modern technology in violation of their religious beliefs, effectively threatening to expel an entire faith community from the county. The ACLU of Michigan, along with the law firms Wright & Schulte, LLC and Cooper, Bender & Bender, P.C., defended the Amish, explaining that forcing them to choose between using modern technology their religion forbids or having their land seized and homes demolished violated their right to religious liberty.  A trial had been scheduled for later this year. In settling the case, the county agreed to drop its lawsuits against the Amish and cease attempts to force them to use technologies and farming methods that their religion forbids. The Amish have agreed to take steps, approved by experts, to assure the county that their traditional practices are safe for the community.

A member of the Lenawee County’s Old Order Amish community, speaking on behalf of the whole community, said this about the settlement:

“We never sought conflict with Lenawee County, and we are very thankful and blessed that the lawyers and other English folks intervened to help defend our constitutional rights and our traditional way of life.  We look forward to being able to practice our faith free of interference from the government and to live in harmony with nature and our neighbors, just as our ancestors did.  We are eager to put this legal ordeal behind us.”

Phil Mayor, senior staff attorney at the ACLU of Michigan, said this about the settlement: 

“Protecting the religious freedom of people who are causing no harm to others is a core mission for the ACLU.  The Amish families in Lenawee County were adhering to deeply held, longstanding beliefs as well as following proven agricultural methods experts deemed safe. We are extremely pleased that the county finally realized it was in the wrong and will stop harassing a community of people simply trying to practice their religion.  We expect that, with this lawsuit behind them, the county will find, as other counties throughout the country have, that the Amish are good neighbors who contribute to the economic prosperity, civic life, and religious diversity of the communities where they reside.”

Richard Schulte, partner at Wright & Schulte, LLC also had this to say:

“This is the third time our firm has had the privilege of representing the Amish to protect their religious rights and practices, beginning in 2018 in Shelby County, Ohio and followed by litigation in Adams County, Indiana, with all three cases resulting in victories for the Amish. These cases should cause local governments across the country to think carefully about the need to accommodate the Amish communities’ beliefs and practices consistent with the United States Constitution and the Amish communities’ religious rights.

“It was an absolute honor for us to work closely with the ACLU in this difficult litigation.  The victory in Lenawee County would not have occurred but for this partnership, the work of Attorney Steve Behnke in my office, and many others committed to achieving a just outcome in this case.” 

To read more about this case, see Bulldozers at Their Door  | ACLU of Michigan (

To read the settlement agreement, see below.