Tuesday, September 01, 2009

6th Circuit Rejects Discrimination Claim, But Finds Standing For Funding Challenge

In Pedreira v. Kentucky Baptist Homes For Children, Inc., (6th Cir., Aug. 31, 2009), the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on two separate groups of claims against KBHC, a faith-based agency providing residential treatment facilities and other services for abused and neglected children. It rejected an employment discrimination claim under the Kentucky Civil Rights Act brought brought by a Family Specialist who had been fired because she was a lesbian. The court said that plaintiff introduced no evidence to show how that constituted discrimination based on her religion.

The second group of claims were challenges under the Establishment Clause to the flow of state funds to KBHC. The court concluded that plaintiffs lacked standing as federal taxpayers to challenge the channeling of federal child care funds to KBHC by the state of Kentucky. It is not enough that the federal statutes merely failed to prohibit the unconstitutional use of these funds. However, the court held that plaintiffs do have standing as state taxpayers to challenge the $100 million of state funds paid to KBHC to care for children. Americans United issued a press release announcing the decision. (See prior related posting.)