Racist, anti-gay bill would allow college student groups to decide membership

Posted on 22 Feb 2013 at 1:41pm
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State Rep. Matt Krause

Conservative freshman state Rep. Matt Krause, R-Fort Worth, has filed a bill that discriminates against people based on race, gender and sexual orientation.

HB 360 would deny state funding to colleges and universities, including private institutions, that require a “student organization, including a religious student organization, to allow any student enrolled at the institution to participate in the organization, regardless of the student’s beliefs or status, including race, gender, and sexual orientation.”

The bill states that colleges requiring a religious organization to accept any member regardless of “status or beliefs” violates the First Amendment, “including the rights of free exercise of religion and of freedom of association.”

When asked what the bill’s purpose was, Elliott Griffin, Krause’s chief of staff, said the bill was currently being redrafted to be more narrow. He said he would discuss it more after the language was final.

Krause is perhaps best known in the LGBT community as the Liberty Counsel attorney who defended Fort Worth student Dakota Ary after he was suspended for making anti-gay remarks in class.

Equality Texas Executive Director Chuck Smith said the legislation could possibly apply to a faith-based organization at a private university that wants to limit membership to straight white men. He said the bill is so offensive it likely won’t go anywhere.

“It’s pretty much offensive across the board,” Smith said. “I think that piece of legislation is dead on arrival. It’s an equal opportunity offender.”

This week’s Equality Texas’ legislative update focuses on the other anti-gay bill filed this session by Rep. Drew Springer, R-Muenster. His bill would penalize school districts who offer domestic partner benefits to its employees.

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