The Supreme Court Ruled Taxpayer Dollars Can Go Toward Religious Schools. LGBTQ Advocates Are Worried

Maine cannot prevent parents from using the state’s publicly-funded tuition assistance program to send their kids to private religious schools, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday.

The 6-3 decision—the latest in a series of rulings favoring arguments for religious liberty—comes after civil-rights advocates had warned the case could take a “wrecking ball” to the separation of church and state.

The case, Carson v. Makin, was brought by two families who live in parts of rural Maine that don’t have a public school. Instead, families in those areas could use a taxpayer-funded tuition assistance program to send their kids to an approved private school—as long as the school was secular. Maine banned parents from using the money to send their kids to schools that provide religious education, a rule aimed at preventing public funds from being used for religious activity. The families challenged that rule, alleging it violated both the religion clauses and equal protection clauses of the U.S. Constitution.
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On Tuesday, the Supreme Court sided with the families, with the conservative majority ruling that the ban violated the Constitution’s protection of the free exercise of religion.

“A state need not subsidize private education,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion. “But once a state decides to do so, it cannot disqualify some private schools solely because they are religious.”

The closely-watched case pit the First Amendment’s free exercise clause, which protects the right to practice religion, against its establishment clause, which prohibits the government from establishing or favoring a religion. In his opinion, Roberts wrote that using the program to pay for religious schools would not violate the establishment clause, since the public funds flow to religious organizations through the “independent choices of private benefit recipients.”

Carson v. Makin is a significant case in a series …read more

Source:: Time – Politics


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