Texas A&M Bill Threatens Funds for Gay Group

Student senate passes measure allowing students to opt out on religious grounds

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 4, 2013 2:21 PM CDT

(Newser) – If the Texas A&M student senate has its way, the university's Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered Resource Center could soon find itself lacking funds. The senate last night passed the Religious Funding Exemption Bill, which allows students to opt out of paying student fees that fund university services they disagree with on religious grounds, reports the Eagle. Up until 24 hours before the final vote, the measure had been called the GLBT Funding Opt Out Bill, but backers broadened it and took out specific references to GLBT services.

One opponent of the bill called it "a facade to deprive GLBT students of resources to create a safe environment," but the bill's co-author insisted the measure doesn't single anyone out. "If you think this is pointing someone out, it is a fabrication in your head that you have created on your own," he said. Students, most of them opposed to the bill, crowded the senate chamber and overflowed into the hallway during the emotional three-hour debate, which ended in a 35-28 vote. The student body president must now decide whether to sign or veto the bill; if he signs it, it will be forwarded to the university president and CFO, the system chancellor, and the regents.

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