On Thursday in New Orleans, a federal judge heard arguments in the American Civil Liberties Union's request that Louisiana be found in contempt of a 2002 court settlement dealing with religious content in the state's program promoting abstinence until marriage. U.S. district judge Thomas Porteous Jr. conducted the hearing. In July 2002 he ruled that some grants under the Governor's Program on Abstinence were being used by recipients to promote religion. Program officials contended they had stopped such spending, but Porteous issued an order compelling the program to cut off funds to groups or persons conveying a religious message.
Louisiana first appealed, then dropped its effort and settled with the ACLU in November 2002, promising to monitor spending more tightly and to conduct quarterly reviews of funded programs, denying renewal to those found promoting religion.
The current ACLU motion, filed in January, contends that the GPA continues to feature religious materials on its Web site. The ACLU filed the motion after Gov. Kathleen Blanco said in December that simply providing Web links to other abstinence-related sites with religious content does not violate the settlement. (AP)