Maine’s AG fumes over ‘baffling and offensive’ SCOTUS ruling in favor of religious schools

(Video Credit: NEWS CENTER Maine)

Citizens of Maine have a bone to pick with Attorney General Aaron Frey, calling his reaction to the Supreme Court ruling in favor of religious schools receiving public funding, “baffling and offensive.”

The high court decided in a 6 to 3 decision that the state of Maine violated the First Amendment right to freedom of religion as it applies to religious schools by exempting them from their tuition assistance program.

Frey expressed his deep, leftist disappointment in the ruling. He contends that the two schools named in the lawsuit, Temple Academy in Waterville and Bangor Christian Schools, have policies that discriminate against students regarding sexual orientation or gender identity. He said that all schools receiving state tuition must abide by the Maine Human Right Act, which bans discriminating against someone because of their race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or disability.

“I am terribly disappointed and disheartened by today’s decision,” Frey proclaimed in his statement. “Public education should expose children to a variety of viewpoints, promote tolerance and understanding, and prepare children for life in a diverse society. The education provided by the schools at issue here is inimical to a public education. They promote a single religion to the exclusion of all others, refuse to admit gay and transgender children, and openly discriminate in hiring teachers and staff. One school teaches children that the husband is to be the leader of the household.”

“While parents have the right to send their children to such schools, it is disturbing that the Supreme Court found that parents also have the right to force the public to pay for an education that is fundamentally at odds with values we hold dear,” he declared. “I intend to explore with Governor Mills’ administration and members of the Legislature statutory amendments to address the Court’s decision and ensure that public money is not used to promote discrimination, intolerance, and bigotry.”

The director of communications at Maine Policy Institute, Jacob Posik, penned an op-ed for the Bangor Daily News asserting that Frey is “scrambling to change the statute.” Frey suggested to Fox News Digital that the program is intended to provide the equivalent of public education. Posik responded that “nothing could be further from the truth.”

Maine enacted the state tuition program in 1873 and it was used to send kids to religious schools until the exclusion was codified in 1981.

“So for him to say that this program was never intended to be used this way, it’s just entirely devoid of historical context and the reality,” Posik said, charging that Chief Justice John Roberts said pretty much the same thing in the court’s opinion.

“But he starts off by reiterating comments that the court struck down,” Posik commented. “He says public funds cannot be used to attend a private school that promotes religion because such schools, by definition, do not provide the equivalent of a public education. And then if you actually go through – if you go through the ruling and read it, John Roberts really eviscerates him. He says the statute doesn’t say anything of the such.”

“And then so for him to reiterate the same argument that he made before the court, that the court rejected and put it out in a press release, is beyond irresponsible,” he later added.

Carroll Conley, executive director of the Christian Civic League of Maine considers Frey’s statement “the very definition of bigotry.”

“We commend the nation’s highest court for striking down Maine’s 40-year discriminatory prohibition of sectarian schools’ participation in tuition programs,” Conley emphatically stated to Fox News Digital. “Our AG‘s response to losing this case was simultaneously baffling and offensive. His assertion that sectarian schools are ‘inimical to a public education’ simply for not aligning with the state’s orthodoxy regarding human sexuality is the very definition of bigotry.”

“Does AG Frey contend that a Hebrew school is practicing intolerance for insisting its Torah instructor be an adherent of Judaism?” Conley asked. “Would a Muslim school who chose not to employ a male kindergarten teacher expressing himself as a female be disqualified for discrimination? Would a parochial school be considered bigoted for disallowing students to express themselves as cats or dogs? I do not know of anyone who thought the state of Maine would prevail in this case, and yet our Attorney General insists on wasting taxpayers’ money by ignoring this ruling and pursuing legal action that would thwart this expansion of educational choice to families regardless of their financial circumstances.”

“It appears the Maine Attorney General isn’t tired of losing yet,” Corey DeAngelis, who is a senior fellow at the American Federation for Children and a board member of Liberty Justice Center, also told Fox News Digital in an interview.

“After opponents of educational freedom took a massive L at the Supreme Court of the United States last week, they’re already grasping at straws trying to figure out other ways to discriminate against religious families. Further discrimination against religious families would violate the free exercise clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. SCOTUS has consistently ruled in favor of religious liberties in education. If Maine wants to lose again by trying to find other ways to discriminate against religious families, so be it,” he bluntly stated.

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