Target: Georgia State Representative Earl Ehrhart and State School Superintendent John D. Barge
Goal: Prevent Georgia state money from funding private schools that ban gay students and children of gay students
Private schools in Georgia are using tax dollars to ban gay students from enrolling in their programs. The tax credit program allows taxpayers to donate a portion of their annual state tax income to provide private school scholarships from kindergarten through high school. The dollars donated by taxpayers are then matched dollar-for-dollar with tax credits on state income tax. As much as 50 million dollars of government money can be used to subsidize blatant discrimination.
People who support the scholarship have argued that it does not discriminate because it can benefit schools with any kind of philosophy. But facts show most of the schools that benefit from this program fall into the category of Christian-faith based education. The point of the matter is that faith-based schools are receiving government money to teach from a religious perspective. This is clearly a conflict of interest in the concept of separation of church and state. Public funds are financing religious academic organizations practicing discrimination.
Representative Earl Ehrhart has been quoted stating the scholarship program simply gives the student and parent a cost-effective choice of education. By signing the petition below you will demand Representative Ehrhart and Superintendent Barge alter this glaring example of discrimination and make sure the scholarships will go to any low-income student despite his or her sexual orientation or that of his or her parents. In addition, religious private schools should not benefit from public funding unless religion is prohibited from the curriculum.
Dear Representative Ehrhart and Superintendent Barge,
A recent tax credit program allows private schools to collect public funding for scholarships for low-income students. Many of these schools are faith-based organizations that ban gay students or students of gay parents from enrolling in their programs. Not only is this a case of state-funded discrimination, public money funding private religious-oriented organization is a clear violation of separation of church and state. Taxpayers should not be involved in subsidizing faith-based organizations.
As American citizens, we stand strongly against the discrimination involved in this scholarship program and others like it. Discrimination against an individual based on his or her race, sexual orientation, or religion are highly unconstitutional. Freedom of religion is a fundamental right of all American citizens but when religious doctrine infringes on public funding to private schools that openly discriminate on other constitutional rights we find a glaring conflict of interest. Please amend your violation on American constitutional rights and prohibit this program from benefiting religious education and/or religious discrimination.
[Your Name Here]