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Catholic Diocese of Charleston files lawsuit against the state

Updated: Apr. 14, 2021 at 7:01 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Charleston along with 20 independent colleges and universities in South Carolina are filing a federal civil rights lawsuit against a portion of the state constitution.

The filers believe that it’s wrong that public money cannot go to private schools in South Carolina. They say that the part of the state constitution that forbids it is a relic of racism and anti-Catholic feeling in South Carolina.

“We are here to stand up for children and families across South Carolina and to face head on the anti-Catholic and the racist history in our state’s constitution,” Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Charleston Robert Guglielmone said.

The lawsuit comes after the state Supreme Court ruled unanimously last year that the governor could not give $32 million in COVID relief money to private schools in the state.

The SAFE grants program would have moved CARES Act funding to assist tuition costs at private schools.

In the October ruling, the South Carolina Supreme Court stated that the allocation of the funds to support the SAFE grants program constituted the use of public funds for the direct benefit of private education institutions which is prohibited by the South Carolina Constitution.

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