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Suit filed after Ky. college boots gay man

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Suit filed after Ky. college boots gay man

SeattlePI.newsource.com

By JOE BIESK

ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER

Tuesday, April 25, 2006 · Last updated 6:25 p.m. PT

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- A gay-rights group sued Gov. Ernie Fletcher on Tuesday for not vetoing $11 million in state funds earmarked for a Baptist college that expelled an openly gay student this month.

Legislators included in the budget $10 million for a proposed pharmacy school and $1 million for scholarships at the University of the Cumberlands.

The college expelled Jason Johnson after he posted details of his dating life on the Web site MySpace.com.

The Kentucky constitution prohibits the use of state tax money to support religious institutions or entities that discriminate against citizens, according to the lawsuit.

"We're asking that the governor uphold the constitution and not allow the funding of the University of the Cumberlands," said Christina Gilgor, executive director of the Kentucky Fairness Alliance, which filed the lawsuit.

Fletcher declined to veto the funding because, he said, it came from coal severance taxes paid by companies, not by individual taxpayers.

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As the governor had indicated the day before, the administration sued two state agencies Tuesday, seeking a ruling on the appropriation's constitutionality.

Fletcher said he also welcomed the advocacy group's lawsuit.

"We certainly would like for them to have their day in court," Fletcher said. "I think it's important that both sides are argued vigorously so that the courts can decide on this constitutional issue."

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