AU's Legislative Director Maggie Garrett and Assistant Field Director for Religious Outreach Rev. Steven Baines just completed the first, of what will be many, tours in Florida. Their purpose in traveling to Florida was to share Americans United's concerns about Florida's Amendment 8, that will appear on the ballot in November.
The goal of Amendment 8 is to allow taxpayer money to flow to religious schools and houses of worship. Passage of the Amendment would strip the religious freedom protections currently enshrined in the Florida Constitution, which would allow for the direct funding of religious organizations that provide faith-based social services, and open the door to taxpayer funded vouchers for religious schools. Amendment 8 would harm Florida's religious communities, Florida’s children, civil rights, and church-state separation.
Starting in Ft. Lauderdale, Maggie traveled west and then north, sharing AU's concerns about Amendment 8 with hundreds of church-state separation supporters in Ft. Lauderdale and Miami/Dade County area, and chapter members and supporters in Naples. Steven began his journey in Jacksonville, meeting with Jacksonville and Clay County AU members and supporters, and chapter members and supporters in Flagler County. The two national staffers ended their tour at a large event in Sarasota, and finally in the Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg area.
The challenges in Florida will be great, but AU chapter members and supporters certainly seem ready for the task.