Associated Press

HELENA, Mont. (AP) -- Religious colonies of Hutterites in rural Montana are fighting the state's attempts to impose a labor law backed by businesses that complain they can't outbid the communal workers.

The Hutterites are pacifist Protestant Christians similar to the Amish and Mennonites. They live in communes, don't pay wages, make their own clothes and produce their own food.

They are mainly agricultural producers but recently have expanded into construction work.

Private businesses backed a 2009 Montana law requiring the Hutterites to pay for workers' compensation insurance, saying it would even the competition.

A judge in 2010 ruled the requirement infringes on the Hutterites' religious freedom. Attorneys for the state will ask the Montana Supreme Court on Wednesday to reverse that ruling, saying the law deals only with the Hutterites' commercial activities.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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