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Supreme Court ruling today makes it easier to qualify to USAID funding to fight AIDS

WASHINGTON – Although the U.S. Supreme Court did not rule today on Proposition 8 or DOMA, the justices did decide that the federal government cannot deny money from its global anti-AIDS program to groups that refuse to oppose the legalization of prostitution.

Voting 6-2, with Justice Sonia Sotomayor abstaining, the justices said the government’s policy requiring an anti-prostitution pledge was a violation of the First Amendment.

"The Policy Requirement compels as a condition of federal funding the affirmation of a belief that by its nature cannot be confined within the scope of the government program," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote. "In doing so, it violates the First Amendment and cannot be sustained."

Justice Antonin Scalia wrote the dissent for Agency for International Development v. Alliance for Open Society International (12-10), and was backed by Justice Clarence Thomas.

The policy was mandated by the 2003 Congress after being pushed by the George W. Bush Administration.

The high court’s majority said the anti-prostitution stance has nothing to do with the anti-AIDS program’s mission.

Today’s ruling will allow more agencies to qualify for USAID funding to fight HIV and AIDS around the globe.

To read the SCOTUS Blog's take on this case, click HERE.