Amendment 8 - Religious freedom

Published On: Oct 06 2012 09:47:16 PM EDT   Updated On: Oct 16 2012 08:28:51 PM EDT

Ballot Summary
Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution providing that no individual or entity may be denied, on the basis of religious identity or belief, governmental benefits, funding or other support, except as required by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, and deleting the prohibition against using revenues from the public treasury directly or indirectly in aid of any church, sect, or religious denomination or in aid of any sectarian institution.

Explanation
This amendment would overturn a part of the state Constitution that blocks taxpayer funds from being spent on religious institutions, including any churches, sects and religious denominations. The new language, replacing a provision in the Constitution going back more than 125 years, says an individual or entity may not be denied funding, benefits or support based on religious identity or belief.

Support
Florida Rep. Stephen Precourt says that religious should be treated the same as non-religious ones. He has described education as a marketplace and said, "They shouldn't be telling a group that just because you're faith-based organization you shouldn't be participating in the market."

Opposition
The "Vote No on 8" committee argues that the amendment is not really about religious freedom, but is rather an attempt by the state to gain voter approval for funding religious organizations with taxpayer money.