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Civil Rights Settlement

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PA Funeral Director Law Changes Following Civil Rights Settlement (Wasserman v. Burrell, et al.)

PA Funeral Director Law changes were made due to the civil rights settlement by Pittsburgh Rabbi Wasserman in his “Funeral Director” interpretation case against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. This important civil rights settlement secures religious freedom for rabbis and other religious leaders.

In August 2012, the Rabbi’s legal team filed suit against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Complaint alleged that the Rabbi’s rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution of the United States, as well as Article 1 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, had been violated.

The Memorandum of Understanding of this civil rights settlement excludes all individuals who perform religious rites, sects, and any committee of a church, mosque, synagogue or temple from the definition of “funeral director” under Pennsylvania law. Rabbi Wasserman and leaders of all other religious faiths can now conduct funeral services in Pennsylvania. The State Board of Funeral Directors must begin new enforcement procedures to ensure that the civil rights of individuals who perform religious burials are not violated.

Documents related to this civil rights case may be reviewed here:

2012-12-17 Wasserman press release.

Memorandum of Understanding.

Stipulation.

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