Hope Christian School, a partially publicly funded religion-based institution in Albuquerque, N.M., has garnered local media attention after denying a 3-year-old admittance because he has two gay fathers, KOAT-TV reports.
“Same gender couples are inconsistent with scriptural lifestyle and biblical teachings,” a letter from the school to the boy's unnamed parents says, according to the station. The letter goes on to say that the child's "home life doesn't reflect the school's belief of what a biblical family lifestyle is.”
The letter also states that since the school is private, it is exempt from "excessive government interference in matters of religion."
Nevertheless, according to the KOAT-TV report, the school is slated to receive more than $60,000 in federal tax dollars this school year.
The controversy at Hope Christian School is particularly interesting in light of an ongoing national debate surrounding school voucher programs, which some states believe will help them offer more educational choices for students in troubled public schools.
Proponents of vouchers say that the program expands horizons for students stuck in troubled schools. Opponents point out that vouchers erode public schools by pulling funding out of the system and violate the separation of church and state by sending public dollars to patriarchal private schools.
Just this week, rules released for Louisiana's new voucher program outline a shift of tens of millions of dollars from public schools to pay private schools, private businesses and private tutors to educate the state's students. The program, the most sweeping in the country, is the cornerstone of Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal's bold effort to reform public education in the state. Critics are concerned about funding and fairness -- vouchers would cover the full cost of tuition at more than 120 private schools, including small religious schools.
The Louisiana teachers' unions, the Louisiana School Boards Association and many school districts have filed lawsuits to block the program.
Hope Christian School isn't the first educational institution to become the subject of controversy for religion-influenced actions.
Back in April, Cathy Samford, a former teacher at Heritage Christian Academy in Texas was terminated from her position after school officials learned she was pregnant out of wedlock.
"I'm not just some teacher that went out to a bar and got pregnant and went back to school saying it's okay," Samford told ABC News. "I was in a committed relationship the whole time and probably would have been married if things had gone differently and this would be a non-situation."
SUBSCRIBE AND FOLLOW
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements.Learn more