Saturday, May 07, 2011

Florida Legislature Submits Repeal of Blaine Amendment To Voters

On Friday, the Florida state Senate passed HJR 1471-- a joint resolution previously passed by the state House of Representatives that will submit to voters next year a proposal to repeal the state constitution's Blaine Amendment. The Blaine Amendment currently bars state financial support of any religious denomination or institution.  The proposed amendment will remove the current language from Florida's Constitution and will add the following:

Except to the extent required by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, neither the government nor any agent of the government may deny to any individual or entity the benefits of any program, funding, or other support on the basis of religious identity or belief.
HJR 1471 (full text) includes 3 pages of "Whereas" clauses that, among other things, trace the original Blaine Amendment to anti-Catholic bigotry and lament the restictions now imposed on state funds going to religiously affiliated hospitals, schools and adoption agencies. The Miami Herald reports on the legislature's action. [Thanks to David L. Barkey for the lead.]