Most attention in the recent election centered on the presidential, congressional, and state races, but voters in many states were presented with referendums on other issues: abortion, legalization of marijuana, and parochaid (see preceding story).
For voters in at least three states, parochaid—public tax support for private, church-related schools—was a question, and the answer was a resounding no. Maryland, Oregon, and Idaho voters rejected all ballot proposals that dealt directly or indirectly with the issue. Other states, meanwhile, have parochaid pending at various court levels, while several have had parochaid plans tested and rejected by the U. S. Supreme Court.
Despite the seeming rejection of parochaid, its supporters are as encouraged by the election results as its opponents. They point to the overwhelming reelection of President Nixon, who took a strong stand in support of parochaid during the campaign. But opponents, including Americans United for Separation of Church and State, a Protestant lobbying group, call the state results proof that voters are rejecting all forms of parochaid and are calling for maintenance of church-state separation.
In Maryland, a proposed state law to use a complicated voucher (tax credit) plan to divert $12 million annually to parochial and private schools was rejected by a 61,000-vote margin. Leading newspapers, union officials, state politicians, and other groups led the fight to get the proposal accepted. Opposing was the Maryland Committee for Public Education and Religious Liberty (PEARL) and a coalition of educational, religious, and civic groups. Under the plan, parents earning under $12,000 a year and sending children to parochial or private schools would receive ...1
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