ALBANY, N.Y. (Sep. 27)
Jewish backers of church-state separation in New York State were presented today with the problem of deciding whether they should support a proposed new state constitution which eliminates a 73-year-old clause barring state aid to religious-sponsored schools. In its stead, the convention added to the constitution the language of the Federal Bill of Rights forbidding any law respecting the establishment of religion and to give any citizen the right to bring legal action against the state or its subdivisions to restrain unconstitutional expenditures.
The constitutional convention ended its work last night with a 94-81 vote to send the new basic charter it produced in six months of work to the voters at a special election on November 7 as a single package, A number of state Republican leaders, including Gov. Nelson Rockefeller, had urged the convention to place some of the more controversial sections of the new constitution — such as the Blaine Amendment which bars state funds for religious schools — on the November 7 ballot separately.
Jewish civil rights groups, as well as Reform and Conservative religious groups have strongly opposed repeal of the Blaine Amendment, Orthodox Jewish groups in the state have supported repeal with equal emphasis.