GLEP Applauds Parents’ Fight to End Religious Bigotry in Education
Parents Filed Lawsuit to End Discriminatory “Blaine Amendment” that Targets Families of Faith
LANSING – Parents across the state of Michigan yesterday filed a lawsuit in federal court to overturn Michigan’s bigoted “Blaine Amendment” that targets families based on their religious faith, preventing them from accessing Michigan 529 accounts to cover education expenses of their choice. The restriction in Michigan is in direct conflict with the U.S. Constitution which prohibits religious discrimination or unfair barriers on religious organizations.
The lawsuit was filed in Western District Court by parents in Royal Oak, Kalamazoo, Milford, Charlotte, and Grand Rapids, and the Pace Foundation. The Supreme Court ruled in 2020 in Espinoza v. Montana Dept. of Revenue, that the U.S. Constitution forbids states to deny families the choice of using available aid for religious education.
Blaine Amendments are constitutional and legal provisions at the state level rooted in 19th century anti-Catholic bigotry. They are named after a reviled 19th century bigot, Senator James G. Blaine of Maine, who waged a long legal war to discriminate against Catholic children in education.
“It’s time to end religious bigotry in Michigan,” said Beth DeShone, Executive Director of the Great Lakes Education Project. “Federal law bars religious discrimination against parents and kids, and the state of Michigan must abandon its bigoted Blaine Amendment, too. GLEP is incredibly proud of the brave parents who stood up today to defend their kids against discrimination.”
529 education savings accounts were designed to encourage parents to save for their children’s future education expenses and are used by parents across the country to help cover their kids’ tuition and other school costs – including expenses at private schools.
The Great Lakes Education Project is a bi-partisan, non-profit advocacy organization supporting quality choices in public education for all Michigan students. GLEP strongly supports efforts to improve academic achievement, increase accountability and empower parental choice in our schools.