The ACLU is outraged that Republicans are allowing Floridians a chance to vote in 2012 if religious groups should continue to face discrimination when it comes to helping fund their social services outreach:
This year, the GOP-led Legislature placed a constitutional amendment on the 2012 ballot called the “Religious Freedom Act.” Sponsors of the amendment said current law withholding taxpayer funds from institutions was linked to a bigoted law aimed at Catholics in the 1800s. Rep. Steve Precourt, R-Orlando, one of the bill’s sponsors, said the bill would remove such “discriminatory language”:
“Blaine Amendments are antiquated constitutional tenants rooted in bigotry that go far beyond the separation of church and state envisioned by our founding fathers,” Precourt said. “If we don’t take action now, millions of dollars in quality state programs- from Bright Futures to voluntary pre-kindergarten – may be jeopardized.” --Florida Independent
A separate Florida Independent account details the breath of Catholic social services in the Sunshine State:
For the past 25 years, the Catholic church in Florida has provided Catholic health services that include 10 acute-care hospitals, three rehabilitation hospitals, nine nursing homes and a hospice organization. The church also has a robust welfare service program with 148 Catholic charity service centers and 92 specialized housing and day care centers that help out almost 350,000 people in need. The Archdiocese of Miamialso runs a state-funded crisis pregnancy center network called Respect Life. Even though the center receives states dollars, like most CPCs, they receive minimal oversight from the state.
There are also currently 206 Catholic schools in Florida serving more than 82,000 students from kindergarten to high school. According to Sheedy, about 10 percent of those students are in those schools today because of the existent voucher program.