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Florida May Remove Church-State Separation from Its Constitution

SJR 2550 was passed out of the Senate Judiciary committee today. It would remove the provision that prohibits state money being spent “directly or indirectly to aid any church, sect or religious denomination.” It would also prohibit discriminating against someone who wanted to spend state program money they receive at a religious institution, such as a school.

I’m guessing quite a number of things this might make legal under Florida law would still fail in federal court, but thus far Florida’s efforts at voucher programs paying for religious schools has failed at the state level.

The official summary of the bill as filed reads:

2 A joint resolution proposing an amendment to Section 3
3 of Article I of the State Constitution to provide that
4 an individual may not be barred from participating in
5 any public program because of choosing to use public
6 benefits at a religious provider and to delete a
7 prohibition against using public revenues in aid of
8 any church, sect, or religious denomination or any
9 sectarian institution.

You can find more information on the bill here.

A similar bill has been filed in the Florida House of Representatives, HJR 1399. The house version is different in wording, but I’m not sure what the legal result would be.

This would have to go on the ballot in November, as it is a constitutional amendment.

(HT: Post on Politics)

1 comment to Florida May Remove Church-State Separation from Its Constitution

  • R Law

    The Florida bills do NOT propose to remove separation of church and state. The just make the Florida Constitution more like the US Constitution. Here is the proposed constitutional language:

    “Religious freedom.—There shall be no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting or penalizing the free exercise thereof. Religious freedom shall not justify practices inconsistent with public morals, peace or safety. An individual may not be barred from participating in any public program because that individual has freely chosen to use his or her program benefits at a religious provider.”

    If you would like to learn about these bills, I encourage you to visit the following webpages:

    http://www.becketfund.org/index.php/article/1278.html
    http://www.becketfund.org/index.php/article/1277.html
    http://www.blaineamendments.org

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