FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 Tax-Payers Should Not Be Forced To Pay For Prejudice, Says TWO

Burlington, Vt. – Truth Wins Out denounced an 11-state scheme today where taxpayers finance scholarships for parochial schools that preach prejudice school vouchers ap TWO Denounces Tax Payer Financed Scholarships For Schools That Discriminate Against Gay Studentsand demonize LGBT students. These indoctrination programs should be immediately dismantled and no further tax money should be funneled into exclusionary schools that preach divisiveness and hate under the guise of religious instruction, says TWO.

“Taxpayers should not be forced to pay for prejudice and subsidize schools that demonize LGBT students,” said Truth Wins Out’s Executive Director Wayne Besen. “The ugly message sent by these schools is that gay students are inferior and unworthy of an education. This causes immense psychological damage to LGBT youth and promotes bullying.”

The tax credit scholarships began in Arizona in 1997 and have expanded to 11 states, according to an article by Kim Severson in today’s New York Times. The scholarships let individuals and businesses receive state tax credits for thousands of dollars in donations to nonprofit groups that funnel the money to private schools – many with harsh anti-gay policies.

A new report by the Southern Education Foundation claims that at least 115 religious-based schools in Georgia receiving scholarship money have virulently antigay policies. However, since the law limits public information on the scholarship program, the number could be much higher. Steve Suitts, the vice president of the foundation and the author of the report, said that as many as a third of the schools in the scholarship program have strict antigay policies or adhere to a religious philosophy that holds homosexuality as immoral or a sin.

As a result, his report says, public money is being spent by private educational institutions that “punish, denounce and even demonize students in the name of religion solely because they are gay, state that they are homosexual, happen to have same-sex parents or guardians, or express support or tolerance for gay students at school, away from school or at home.”

Aside for questions about their constitutionality, such programs are especially cruel for LGBT teenagers who are coming to grips with their sexuality in a sometimes-homophobic culture.

“These programs kick teens at a vulnerable time in their development when they most need love and support,” said TWO’s Besen. “It is unconscionable that state money is being wasted on schools that teach hate and seek to stigmatize LGBT teenagers.”

Truth Wins Out is a nonprofit organization that fights anti-LGBT extremism. TWO specializes in turning information into action by organizing, advocating and fighting for LGBT equality.