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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 20, 2011
11:44 AM

CONTACT: ACLU

Derek Newton, ACLU of Florida, (786) 363-2722
Robyn Shepherd, ACLU national, (212) 519-7829 or 549-2666; media@aclu.org

 

Florida Ballot Initiative Will Strip Away Religious Liberty, Says ACLU

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - July 20 - The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Florida joined other civil liberties, religious and education organizations in filing a lawsuit today challenging the ballot language of a proposed Florida amendment that would eliminate Florida’s ban on taxpayer funding of religious organizations and create a virtual requirement that public funds be used to support religious institutions.

“Lawmakers fabricated Florida history and deceived their colleagues to get this misleading proposal before the public,” said Howard Simon, executive director of the ACLU of Florida.

Earlier this month, the ACLU issued a report refuting the erroneous argument from the amendment’s supporters that the longstanding ban is rooted in anti-Catholic bias.

“It’s clear what they really want is to force taxpayers to support churches, mosques and synagogues and re-fight Florida’s voucher wars,” Simon said. “They should have just taken those radical ideas to the public instead of disguising them in this inaccurate, misleading and phony notion of ‘religious freedom’ when what they really want is to take away your freedom to support the religion of your choice or none at all.”

"The ballot language is written to fool Floridians into approving a measure that actually strips away religious liberty protections," said Daniel Mach, director of the ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief. "Florida voters have a right to know what this proposal would really mean: abandoning over 100 years of constitutional safeguards and opening the door to taxpayer funded religious discrimination and indoctrination."

More information on this lawsuit can be found at:
www.aclu.org/religion-belief/rabbi-merrill-shapiro-et-al-v-kurt-browning

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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.



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