LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Parents across the state of Michigan on Sept. 23, filed a lawsuit in federal court to overturn Michigan’s “Blaine Amendment” that targets families based on their religious faith. It prevents them from accessing Michigan 529 accounts to cover education expenses of their choice.
Blaine Amendments are constitutional and legal provisions at the state level rooted in nineteenth century anti-Catholic bigotry. They are named after a reviled nineteenth century bigot, Senator James G. Blaine of Maine, who waged a long legal war to discriminate against Catholic children in education.
The restriction in Michigan is in direct conflict with the U.S. Constitution which prohibits religious discrimination.
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.
“It’s time to end religious bigotry in Michigan. 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.”Beth DeShone, Executive Director of the Great Lakes Education Project
Hundreds of 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.
The Great Lakes Education Project is a bi-partisan, non-profit advocacy organization supporting thorough choices for Michigan students in public education.
GLEP greatly support efforts to improve academic achievement, increase accountability and encourage choices of parents in schools.