Lutas: Speaking from experience, private schools can be just as anal about the separation of Church and State as any public school; in my grade school, one teacher was dismissed for leading the class in prayer. (To be fair, another was dismissed for leading the class in directed visualizations, under the charge that he was teaching Zen Buddhism.)
As for the type of school, I'm not knowingly
moving the goalposts. Let me check...
<checks back through thread>
The original reference is from mayihelpyou, who stated their daughter isn't allowed to bring a picture of a stable to school at Christmas time and color it, due to religious overtones; yet, she is taught the history of the dreidl. See page 5 of this topic. No mention of what kind of school. Mayi, are you willing to oblige?
point, introduced on page 6, is that this is not religious persecution, as it is based on the content, not a religious activity; it is therefore censorship, not religious oppression.
Oh, and Scientology (I assume they're your I.R.S. reference) had more than patience on its side. But since Mother wasn't involved in that case, that's as much as I know.
But yes, you could make an entire religion that had coloring as part of its religious observance. And if you did, and it became an accepted religion, then the tenet of religious freedom states that you shall not be restricted from coloring in coloring books. Assuming it's a Christian subunit ("Illustrationists"?), then the stable picture would be perfectly acceptable.
Calbeck: I repeat, no Christian tradition I can find online makes this distinction for coloring books. If you can find one, I'll withdraw the point; otherwise, simply stating that it is equivalent does not change the facts. Remember Abraham Lincoln: "How many legs does a dog have, if you call a tail a leg? Four, because calling a tail a leg does not make it so."
Vermont, in 1999, as CNN reported
, made a ruling, yes; but as you should know, rulings don't happen without cases. The case in question, begun in 1997
, stemmed from the state's refusal to grant marriage licenses to three same-sex couples, in accordance with the State Attorney General's instructions.
Why was this a problem? Because of Article 7 of the Vermont State Constitution:
That government is, or ought to be, instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security of the people, nation, or community, and not for the particular emolument or advantage of any single person, family, or set of persons, who are a part only of that community; and that the community hath an indubitable, unalienable, and indefeasible right, to reform or alter government, in such manner as shall be, by that community, judged most conducive to the public weal.
This Article was interpreted as stating that all citizens of Vermont are entitled to equal protection, responsibility and privilege before the law.
Because the State Constitution trumps the State Attorney General, the high court ruled unanimously that same-sex couples were entitled to the same protections, rights and privileges under state law that heterosexual couples enjoy. They then left it up to the legislature, which decided to allow civil unions, rather than same-sex marriages; "separate but equal".
The New Jersey case, Lewis v. Harris
, has a similar history; seven same-sex couples were denied marriage licenses, and took their suit to the state's Supreme Court. Along the way, a judge who ruled for the defense (not the plaintiffs) stated in his legal decision that only the legislature could rule same-sex marriages possible.
Once again, the court ruled that the clause, in this case Article I, Paragraph 1 of the 1947 Constitution
All persons are by nature free and independent, and have certain natural and unalienable rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, of acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and of pursuing and obtaining safety and happiness.
... trumped legal opinions, and that equal rights before the court were paramount by the State Constitution.
The judges were divided this time; three of the seven held that same-sex marriage should be expressly permitted, while the majority held that the decision should be left to the legislature. You can read about it in the syllabus of the court's opinion
, which states, in part:
9. The Domestic Partnership Act has failed to bridge the inequality gap between committed same-sex couples and
married opposite-sex couples. Significantly, the economic and financial inequities that are borne by same-sex
domestic partners are also borne by their children. Further, even though same-sex couples are provided fewer
benefits and rights by the Act, they are subject to more stringent requirements to enter into a domestic partnership
than opposite-sex couples entering a marriage. (pp. 43-48)
10. At this point, the Court does not consider whether committed same-sex couples should be allowed to marry, but
only whether those couples are entitled to the same rights and benefits afforded to married heterosexual couples.
Cast in that light, the issue is not about the transformation of the traditional definition of marriage, but about the
unequal dispensation of benefits and privileges to one of two similarly situated classes of people. (p. 48)
11. The State does not argue that limiting marriage to the union of a man and a woman is needed to encourage
procreation or to create the optimal living environment for children. Other than sustaining the traditional definition
of marriage, which is not implicated in this discussion, the State has not articulated any legitimate public need for
depriving committed same-sex couples of the host of benefits and privileges that are afforded to married
heterosexual couples. There is, on the one hand, no rational basis for giving gays and lesbians full civil rights as
individuals while, on the other hand, giving them an incomplete set of rights when they enter into committed samesex
relationships. To the extent that families are strengthened by encouraging monogamous relationships, whether
heterosexual or homosexual, the Court cannot discern a public need that would justify the legal disabilities that now
afflict same-sex domestic partnerships. (pp. 48-51)
Yes, they instituted a time limit, which is in no danger of being exceeded; though it had until April to comply, the legislature passed a bill on December 14, with majority and plurality: 56-19 in favor. The bill will take effect thirty days after the governor signs it into law, which he has stated he will do. The population of New Jersey has been polled, and they agree with the court's and legislature's decisions, by a majority vote.
In other words, the judicial component of the state government did its job: To interpret the law. That's their job, Calbeck; not an end run.
I half expect you to go Bauer on me at any moment and start calling the judges "terrorists".