Controversial Student Opt Out Bill Vetoed by Student Body President

By: KBTX Staff Email
By: KBTX Staff Email

A highly controversial bill passed this week by the Texas A&M Student Senate that threatened to defund the university's Gay and Lesbian resource center has been vetoed by the student body president.

Student senators voted Wednesday night to approve the "Religious Funding Exemption Bill," which was written to recommend that students have the ability to opt out of student fees which are against a student's particular religious or moral views. It had previously called "The GLBT Funding Opt-Out Bill," and took heat from critics who say it unfairly targeted gay & lesbian students.

A university spokesman says the GLBT Resource Center receives about $100,000 a year, provided by student fees, to provide counseling services and health programs.

Proponents of the bill said it's a question of religious freedom. Opponents, including Student Body President John Claybrook called the bill "damaging."

Debate on the bill has been called nasty. It prompted Texas A&M's President R. Bowen Loftin to email a statement to the student body which in part, read: "This discourse has, in some cases, lacked civility and discounted each individual's right to free expression of their ideas and beliefs.We must commit ourselves to the highest standards of communication to have our beliefs and ideas challenged in respectful and constructive ways."

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