(CN) – A naturopathic doctor was not qualified to exempt his children from a tuberculosis test, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled, but the state’s refusal to accommodate the doctor’s belief system may have infringed “fundamental liberty interests.”
Patrick Huffman and his wife, Amy Reedy-Huffman, believe that the TB test will harm their children. They produced a waiver signed by Patrick, but his status as a doctor of naturopathy does not meet the state requirement that a waiver must be signed by a doctor of medicine or osteopathy.
The Huffmans sued the school district and the state over their refusal to accept the waiver, claiming it violated their religious rights.
The trial court granted summary judgment to the defendants, but Justice Matthews had a slightly different view.
“We hold that although their waiver application was correctly rejected and they did not show that their objections were religiously based,” Matthews wrote, “they did present a plausible claim that their fundamental liberty interests were infringed.”
Matthews remanded the case to trial court, which must determine if there is a way to perform the test in a way that is acceptable to the Huffmans while maintaining the state’s public health interests.