Wednesday, 6 February 2008
The Real ID Act and religious freedom
CNET news has an interesting article about how the Real ID Act, a federal law that takes effect on May 11, will cause problems for Americans who object to facial photograph requirements on religious grounds. The lengthy new regulations released by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as a result of Real ID set minimum standards for state-issued driver's licenses and IDs, among which is a "full facial digital photograph" that adheres to specific federal requirements. Religious groups including some Amish, Old Order Mennonites, Muslims, members of Native American faiths, and fundamentalist Christians object to identification cards bearing their photographs. The article includes an interactive map of the US that lets you check how various state driver's licenses comply with the federal law. PA: Pennsylvania has requested and received an extension. In the longer term, however, the state may not comply. "We're undergoing a comprehensive review of those regulations right now to look at some potential options, the cost that would be involved and also the impact to the citizens of Pennsylvania. Being granted this initial extension just allows us more time to do that and allows the citizens of the commonwealth to continue using their state driver's licenses and IDs through December 31, 2009."