Bill comes to one vote
Published: Sunday, April 24, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 20:07
Rep. Wayne Christian of District 9 introduced an amendment to the Texas House Budget that would require Texas A&M University, as well as other universities, to fund a center promoting "family and traditional values."
The amendment states: "An institution of higher education shall use an amount of appropriated funds to support a family and traditional values center for students of the institution that is not less than any amount of appropriated funds used by the institution to support a gender and sexuality center or other center for students focused on gay, lesbian, homosexual, bisexual, pansexual, transsexual, transgender, gender questioning or other gender identity issues."
This amendment passed the Texas House of Representatives by a vote of 110 for and 24 against.
A&M's student senate introduced a bill supporting this legislation, and at Wednesday's senate meeting, it passed.
The bill states it will support Christian's amendment and asks that funding for traditional sexual education not to include increases to student fees.
This bill is a direct attack on the GLBT [Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender] Resource Center, said Andrew Jancaric, a senior chemical engineering major.
"As far as long-term effects, this bill will be an embarrassment to our University. It's a blatant attack on the resources of the queer community at A&M," Jancaric said. "The GLBT Resource Center is the number one resource for Aggies struggling with their sexual identity and orientation. It's a crucial resource we need to protect."
The Princeton Review named Texas A&M University as the 17th least friendly campus to the gay and lesbian community.
Jancaric also notes there was no prior notice of the introduction of such a bill to the GLBT Resource Center.
"We were not aware of this bill until four hours before the senate meeting on Wednesday. There was no time on behalf of the resource center to prepare a response. It's clear the authors of this bill did not want the resource center to be aware of what was happening," Jancaric said.
This bill passed the student senate with a vote of 21 for and 21 against, with the speaker of the senate, Hilary Albrecht, breaking the tie and voting for the passage of this bill.
Supporters of this bill said they are not discriminating against the gay and lesbian community, but rather advocating for equality in administering resources.
"Possible benefits of a traditional values center include increasing awareness of the advantages a traditional family has on raising a child," said student senator Tanner Wilson when debating for the passage of this bill.
Advocates for this bill said they want to see a quality resource center that will support traditional couples and their everyday struggles and do not want to see their student fees go to the promotion of values they may not support.
There is an on-line petition going around lobbying Governor Rick Perry, the Texas State Senate and House of Representatives as well as Student Body President, Jacob Robinson, asking them not to decrease funding for GLBT centers for a "Traditional and Family Values" center.
It has more than 800 signatures.