Georgia Lawmakers Defeat Religion-Funding Effort

The Georgia legislature has again thwarted an effort to strip the state constitution of its church-state separation provisions.

Gov. Sonny Perdue (R) tried again to win enough votes for a constitutional amendment that would allow public funding of religious organizations, including private school voucher subsidies. Perdue hopes to eviscerate language in the Georgia Constitution that states, “No money shall ever be taken from the public treasury, directly or indirectly, in aid of any church, sect, cult, or religious denomination or of any sectarian institution.”

Despite the governor’s intense lobbying campaign on behalf of HR 1345, the Republican-controlled House of Representa\xadtives in March failed to garner the two-thirds majority needed to approve the proposal.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State urged Georgia lawmakers to defeat the governor’s effort. AU Georgia Chapter President Jeff Selman and Mara M. Zonderman, AU’s state legislative counsel, visited lawmakers to seek defeat of the proposed amendment.