After three hours of emotional debate, the Texas A&M Student Senate voted 35-28 Wednesday night to approve an anti-gay measure that would allow students to opt out of funding the campus GLBT Resource Center if they have religious objections.
Less than 24 hours before the vote, the name of the bill was changed from the “GLBT Funding Opt Out Bill” to the “The Religious Funding Exemption Bill,” and specific references to the GLBT Resource Center were removed. However, opponents of the bill who packed a Student Senate meeting before the vote Wednesday said the name change did not alter the bill’s discriminatory, anti-gay intent.
With the crowd spilling into the hallways, an overflow viewing room was set up, and the Senate meeting had to be stopped several times so administrators could clear fire exits, according to a report in The Eagle of Bryan-College Station. Emotions ran high, with senators cursing and the woman assigned to tally their votes bursting into tears.
A&M Student Body President John Claybrook says he has not decided whether to veto the measure. The closer-than-expected margin of passage means the Senate may not have the votes to override a veto by Claybrook.
Also last night, the University of Houston Student Government Association unanimously passed a resolution opposing a state budget amendment designed to cut funding for LGBT resource centers on college campuses, according to Daniel Williams of Equality Texas. The anti-gay budget amendment from Rep. Bill Zedler, R-Arlington, could be voted on by the House later today.
Stay tuned for updates.