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Family Research Council Praises U.S. Supreme Court for Upholding Parents' Rights, Religious Liberty in Education

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Family Research Council praised today's decision by the U.S. Supreme Court dismissing a lawsuit challenging Arizona's provision of tax credits for contributions to private-schools - even religious schools. The 5-4 decision held that opponents of the 14-year-old program lacked legal "standing" to challenge the program as taxpayers objecting to a government spending program.

This decision protects the religious liberty of all Americans by restricting attacks on tuition tax credit programs that claim they unconstitutionally promote religion. The Court's holding also advances parental rights in educational choice.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins made the following comments on the decision:

"Today's decision shows that private citizens who voluntarily use their own money to send their children to religious schools should not experience discrimination in the tax code," Perkins said. "Parents should have the primary role in choosing where their children are educated, and who educates them. Arizona 's 14-year-old tax credit has supported parents who chose to send their children to a private or religious school, or support other students who were attending such schools.

"Choice in education is a matter of personal decision-making for parents. Allowing parents to claim a tax credit for supporting educational choice is not a joining of church and state. Rather, it respects the rights of the people to make their own choices in education, and defends the religious liberty of the American people.

"Since the late 1960s, opponents of religious liberty have challenged government programs that spend money supporting organizations with religious components. If the government isn't spending money, but instead simply allowing individuals to claim a tax benefit if they support a scholarship program for private schools, then there is no harm done to groups like the ACLU and opponents of religious liberty and school choice.

"FRC applauds the work of its allies the Alliance Defense Fund, Liberty Counsel and the American Association of Christian Schools. We also thank U.S. Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), whose 1995 authorship of the Arizona Scholarship Tax Credit legislation while serving in the Arizona legislature set the groundwork for today's historic ruling."

Click here to read Family Research Council's recent pamphlet on educational choice: