Religion

"Neovouchers" Allow Public Money for Faith-Based Schools that Expel Kids for Being Gay

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Despite its reputation as an entertainment magazine, Rolling Stone has a storied history with the art of long-form journalism.

The National Affairs Desk began with the infamous Gonzo styling of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, and has kept the magazine relevant as a source for journalism more than it is an outlet for musicians and entertainers. They brought down the NATO commander in a piece by the late Michael Hastings, and have written the most in-depth report of the Boston Bombing yet published (despite the controversial cover).

In an article by Alex Morris, Rolling Stone examines the relationship of “neovouchers,” legal in 12 states, and how they divert public money into religious-based schools that consistently expel children for being gay. Morris follows the stories of a number of gay teens from Georgia. These kids attend Christian schools and many believe in the faith devoutly.

While it is technically legal for these schools to adhere to any faith-based regulation they choose as parochial institutions, the introduction of taxpayer money leads many parents of expelled teenagers feeling discriminated against. Opponents of the practice also say that this money is also going to families who without them would still be able to afford the tuition.

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When interviewing Rep. Earl Ehrhart, the state representative who helped passed the law, Morris asked him both about the income question and the fallout from expelling gay children. He provided “anecdotal” evidence that “probably close to 99 percent” of the money was going to underprivileged children.

With respect to the issue of schools that use public funds expelling children just for being gay, Rep. Ehrhart skirts the controversy by suggesting that they should attend schools “that are more supportive of their sexual orientation anyway.” He then compares it to being a woman in a madrassa school as evidence of how gay teens must feel.