Columbia Week in Review
Columbia earned its right-wing stripes last week with a legislative triple threat. Religious courses in public schools, a marriage amendment banning same sex unions, and a bill that would make the death penalty a potential consequence for repeat sex offenders were all percolating in the Statehouse.
Wed., May 31, a bill introduced by Charleston state Sen. Chip Campsen became law. The bill will grant high school credit for off-campus religious courses. The courses are privately run, no public education funding goes into the program, and participation is voluntary. Currently, 270,000 students around the country are involved in these release-time programs. South Carolina will be only the second state to award credit for religious classes, Georgia being the first.
Working hard last Wednesday, the legislature accomplished another national second this in the form of a bill that will allow capital punishment in cases in which sex offenders are convicted twice for molesting a child 11 or under. The only other state to do so is Louisiana. No one has been executed for a non-murder crime since the death penalty was restored in the United States in 1976. Maybe we can make it to first in that category.
Not to be outdone by the legislature, Attorney General Henry McMaster announced the formation of a compassionate educational campaign advocating passage of a state constitutional amendment making same-sex marriage illegal. The goal of the compassionate Palmetto Family Council is for the amendment to be ratified in this Novembers general election. Elle Lien