Christian: ‘ask attorneys’ if amendment will affect A&M, UT LGBT centers
The author of a House budget amendment on ‘traditional values’ centers on college campuses said he doesn’t know if the legislation will affect existing LGBT centers — which are funded primarily through student fees and donations, rather than “appropriated funds” specified by the amendment. When asked, state Rep. Wayne Christian (R-Center) said that’s a question for attorneys to answer.
“I am interested in finding out the legal opinion – does our bill also instruct them with what to do with private funds? I am not sure, that’s something to ask attorneys, so no, I don’t know the answer,” Christian said.
LGBT centers at the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University receive dollars from student service fees and private donations. While A&M sees minimal state money, the majority of its operating budget is subsidized through students, gifts, grants and donations. UT’s Gender and Sexuality Center is wholly funded through fees and donations — which do not qualify as state appropriated funds, according to the Legislative Budget Board.
Christian seemed undeterred, highlighting the A&M student senate’s recent passage of a bill supporting his amendment.
“It shows they respect [the amendment], so I think at least, the mindset of the majority of the student government at A&M is supporting the issue,” he said.
Yet, not everyone on campus agreed with the student senate’s bill, which was vetoed by the A&M student body president. After the initial approval of the bill, LGBT advocates marched in protest on campus.
Also recently, the University of Houston student senate passed a resolution opposing Christian’s amendment and support LGBT centers, the Houston Press reports.
Christian denied characterizations that he is opposed to LGBT centers, saying his legislation is a matter of providing comprehensive lifestyle education on college campuses.
“I know its being posted as I am against, against, against these centers. No, I am just concerned that the full scope of our student society should be represented at our institutions of learning. My bill did not say ‘don’t do anything’ it just said ‘add to it’ in order to get the full scope of the traditional lifestyle. I understand how it is being taken, but it’s not doing away with anything, it’s just saying ‘add things,’” he said.
Christian continued, “I am saying it is wrong to limit knowledge – and that’s what is being done now. Universities are not giving the full range of traditional lifestyles as well as all of the others. So I’m saying if you give just one half of the story, that’s not the full truth. I am for the full truth and for the full education to be given our young people. They will have the option to decide.”