by Allie Martin
(AgapePress) – Oral arguments concluded this week at the Supreme Court in a case that legal experts say will decide whether public schools and other government agencies can deny religious groups the right to use their buildings to conduct programs and meetings.
The high court heard arguments in the case of The Good News Club v. Milford Central School. The case involves a Christian youth group that was banned from using a New York State public school after hours.
Jay Sekulow is chief counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice. He was inside the courtroom and believes the Supreme Court will rule in favor of the Christian youth group.
“All nine of the justices asked questions, and all nine of the justices expressed serious doubts as to the constitutionality of a policy that targets religious worship … and all nine justices spoke out on the issue,” Sekulow says.
Sekulow points out that it was a 1993 decision in the “Lamb's Chapel” case when the Supreme Court agreed that a school district in New York was wrong when it refused to allow a church to use its facilities after hours to show a Christian film.
Maryland Bill Advocates Premarital Counseling
by Robin Burchfield
(AgapePress) – A Maryland lawmaker has introduced legislation that would give incentives to couples who go through premarital counseling.
Republican John R. Leopold is sponsoring a bill that would provide a discount on marriage licenses for those who take part in a premarital counseling course before they marry. The bill passed in the House 104-24.
According to the Washington Post, Leopold’s bill was vetoed last year by Democratic Maryland Governor Paris Glendening.
Glendening said it needed more details about who would teach the courses. So, Leopold revised the legislation to assign such courses to social workers, psychologists and specially-trained religious leaders.
Leopold says, “We spend millions of dollars to pay for the effects of the wreckage of marriage, but far too little for the tools of prevention to help strengthen marriage.” Some statistics show that more than 40% of American marriages end in divorce.
Other states are also working to reduce their divorce rates. Legislation has been introduced in New Mexico that would give people who complete premarital preparation courses a $100 tax credit. And in 1998, Florida enacted a law similar to the one introduced in Maryland.
(This update courtesy of Agape Press.)