Friday, August 10, 2012

ACLU files lawsuit over 'Right to Pray' Amendment in Missouri

Posted By on Fri, Aug 10, 2012 at 10:31 AM

The debate over Amendment 2 is headed back to court.
  • Flickr: Genna Barlow
  • The debate over Amendment 2 is headed back to court.
Missouri voters approved Amendment 2 by a wide margin Tuesday night. Now the "Right to Pray" amendment to the Missouri Constitution is facing a legal challenge from the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU filed a lawsuit in federal court Wednesday arguing that the measure is unconstitutional.

Supporters of the amendment maintain that the bill guarantees the right to pray in public, while opponents suggest that right is already covered under the Bill of Rights. A series of lawsuits challenging the wording of the ballot summary were dismissed before Tuesday's primary.

The Associated Press reports that the latest lawsuit has been filed on behalf of two prisoners against George Lombardi, the director of the Missouri Department of Corrections. The suit contends that the amendment threatens the religious liberty of prisoners by removing the protection afforded by the Missouri Constitution, which is stronger than that of the U.S. Constitution.

The Anti-Defamation League of Missouri and Southern Illinois has suggested that the section governing students' religious beliefs could lead to additional legal challenges. Under Amendment 2, no student "shall be compelled to perform or participate in academic assignments or educational presentations that violate his or her religious beliefs." Schools are also required to post the text of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.

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