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January 13, 2014…Boston, MA.  The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today filed an amicus (friend-of-court) brief with the New Hampshire Supreme Court in Bill Duncan, et al. v. State of New Hampshire, urging it to invalidate a state program that directs public funds to private religious and secular schools that discriminate against students and teachers.  The program at issue in the case is the New Hampshire Education Tax Credit Program.

“The Education Tax Credit Program turns New Hampshire’s constitutional and statutory anti-discrimination protections on their head,” said Robert O. Trestan, ADL New England Regional Director.   “The State exempts private schools from certain anti-discrimination prohibitions based on an understanding that they don’t take public funds.  But if left intact, the Program would permit public funding of private schools that discriminate.  That is fundamentally unfair and violates the State Constitution,” said Trestan.

The Tax Credit Program is highly problematic on two levels.  It undermines separation of church and state by publicly supporting private religious schools that teach and indoctrinate religion.  And because the Program contains minimal anti-discrimination prohibitions, it allows public financing of private secular and religious schools that discriminate against students and teachers on the basis sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability and other personal characteristics.  ADL’s amicus brief focuses on the discrimination issue, and it asks the New Hampshire Supreme Court to uphold part of a lower court ruling, which partially invalidates the Program by enjoining scholarship awards to religious schools, and modify it to fully invalidate the Program.

The amicus brief was prepared for ADL by the law firm Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP.

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world’s leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.