1984 August 11

Equal Access Act Becomes Law


The Equal Access Act, signed into law by President Ronald Reagan on this day, requires public schools receiving federal financial aid (which in effect means all public schools) to grant access to school facilities during non-school hours on an equal basis and without regard to the views of an organization. At issue in the law was the question of whether religious groups could have access to school facilities for meetings and events, or whether that would violate the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause and the separation of church and state. The law divided civil libertarians between the advocates of free speech and the advocates of separation of church and state.

Read the Equal Access Act: http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/cor/byagency/ed4071.php

Learn more about the law: http://www.firstamendmentschools.org/resources/handout1a.aspx?id=14070

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