Many towns in Vermont don’t have a public high school. In the late 1860s, the state adopted what is known as the “Town Tuition Program.” It allows parents in towns without high schools to send their students to a school they choose, either public or private.
Yet, as the result of a misguided state supreme court decision in 1999, the state made one choice off-limits—parents were effectively barred from choosing a religious school for their students.
The government cannot force families to choose between exercising their religion or enjoying a publicly available benefit. People of faith deserve equal access to public benefits that everyone else gets. That principle has even come to light in two recent U.S. Supreme Court cases.
Enough is enough. With the help of Alliance Defending Freedom, four families and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington are challenging Vermont’s discriminatory policy in court.
Despite two wins for ADF at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit so far, government officials continue to dig in their heels, insisting they have good reason to exclude religious schools and students from a generally available program that allows parents to choose a school for their children.
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