ACLU: No Public Money For Religious Hate

The ACLU and the Americans United for Separation of Church and State have filed a joint lawsuit in a federal appeals court asking that government funding be refused to a Baptist childcare agency in Kentucky because the agency fires gay employees and proselytizes to the children.

The lawsuit asserts that Kentucky Baptist Homes has no right to accept public funding while imposing religious dogma on the children in its programs, and that the Homes’ religion-based anti-gay employment policy violates civil rights laws.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Alicia Pedreira, a former employee at the Louisville home who worked with troubled young people. Despite her excellent performance reviews, Pedreira was terminated in 1998 after officials at the facility learned she is a lesbian.

A federal district court dismissed the case earlier this year, ruling that the plaintiffs do not have legal standing to bring it. Americans United and the ACLU Thursday asked the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reinstate the case.

“I put my heart and soul into helping the children who were under the care of Baptist Homes and was making a difference in their lives,” said Pedreira. “It was unfair to be fired for being a lesbian. It’s not right that an organization that is funded by state and federal dollars to do work for the state can get away with this.” The lawsuit also asks the appeals court to strike down public funding for Kentucky Baptist Homes.

Faith-based tax dollars at work.