Equality For All

D.C. Vouchers: First-Year Flaws and Failings

Department of Education documents show legislated priorities not met, inconvenient information obscured by program administrators

Washington, D.C. - Documents obtained from the U.S.

Flaws and Failings

The Washington Scholarship Fund was essentially chosen by default to administer the voucher program

Flaws and Failings

D.C. voucher proponents have attempted to obscure limitations on “choice” actually available to students in the voucher program

Flaws and Failings

A significant number of vouchers have gone to students who were already in private school, and WSF apparently wanted that number to be even higher

Flaws and Failings

The vast majority of the voucher schools are religious schools, as to which there are serious concerns regarding government-funded discrimination on the basis of disability and religion, as well as religious coercion; also, DOE and WSF have failed to give voucher schools adequate guidance on applicable civil rights laws

Flaws and Failings

The Archdiocese of Washington apparently would not give final agreement to participate in the voucher program until it received assurance from DOE that it could raise tuition for new students

Flaws and Failings

DOE has already acknowledged that the voucher program cannot be evaluated this year in the manner required by Congress

Florida Court Rules Voucher Law Unconstitutional

Upholds Lower Court Decision: Voucher Law Violates Separation of Church & State

The Florida Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 today to uphold a lower court decision striking down the country’s first state-wide voucher program. The Court affirmed the lower court ruling that the Florida voucher law violated the “no aid” clause of the state constitution providing that public funds cannot be used to aid sectarian institutions.

Calif Court Invalidates Weddings of Gay & Lesbian Couples for Now, Does Not Rule on Constitutionality of Marriage Ban

The California Supreme Court today invalidated the marriages of more than 4,000 same-sex couples, ruling that San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom lacked the authority under state law to allow such marriages. The Court did not rule on whether the state’s prohibition on marriage for gay and lesbian couples violates the state constitution, the position taken by Mayor Newsom and the city. That issue is being litigated in other cases still working their way through the courts.

Mixed Messages on Marriage

One Step Forward; One Step Back
In the same week, a Washington state court ruled in favor of marriage rights for same-sex couples in accordance with the state constitution, while Missouri voters approved an amendment to their constitution to ban recognition of such marriages. The mixed results reflect the give and take that can be expected in the short run as the nation moves toward full equality for gay and lesbian Americans.

House Passes Direct Attack on Constitution, Gay and Lesbian Americans

The U.S. House of Representatives today vote 233-194 to pass the so-called “Marriage Protection Act,” legislation that would effectively bar an entire class of citizens from asking the federal courts to protect their constitutional rights.

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