The Texas A&M student senate late Wednesday passed a bill aimed at letting students opt out of funding the university's Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered Resource Center on religious grounds.

After three hours of tear-filled testimony and impassioned debate, the senate voted 35-28 to approve the measure to allow students to choose not to pay portions of their student fees to specific university services that conflict with their religious beliefs.

For weeks, the student-led bill had been aimed at defunding the Texas A&M GLBT center, but approximately 24 hours before the final vote,the "GLBT Funding Opt Out Bill" became "The Religious Funding Exemption Bill." Its scope was broadened, and it did not specifically mention GLBT services.

Students, nearly exclusively in opposition to the bill, crammed the sides of the senate chamber and spilled out into the hallway. Overflow viewing areas were set up, and the meeting was postponed several times while administrators cleared paths to the exit.

Many opponents of the measure held signs, such as one reading "We are the Aggies. The Aggies are we."

The debate polarized the traditionally conservative university, which in the 2012 installment of Princeton Review's "LGBT-unfriendly" list topped other Texas schools and was ranked as the seventh least-friendly public university nationwide.

The dialogue was kicked off with a strong message from bill co-author Thomas McNutt.

"I'm just here asking everybody to just chill out and calm down," McNutt told the crowd.

The proponents of the bill argued that A&M students were already allowed to opt out of paying fees based on their religious beliefs. However, it's unclear if that is the case.

Top university officials said Wednesday night that they initially believed what the students were representing was not accurate, and students are currently disallowed from the opting out. Officials stressed that students cannot opt out of the University Advancement Fee, but said the claim of partial exemption could not be verified late Wednesday night.

Students spoke both for and against the bill, with the majority opposing it. Opponents argued that the bill was discriminatory, alienating and embarrassing for A&M. Proponents said the bill would ensure religious freedoms for all students.

Student Andrew Lupo, who identified as openly gay, spoke against the bill.

"The Religious Funding Exemption bill is a facade to deprive GLBT students of resources to create a safe environment," Lupo said to the senators. "I see so many of you, you're young -- 18 and 19 years old-- and there is a great future for you. Is this how you want to begin your career -- by attacking your own Aggies, your own community?"

Student Aaron Ackerman disagreed and compared forcing students to pay for the GLBT center to forcing doctors to perform partial-birth abortions.

"Our decision here is not going to reach that far," Ackerman said. "I just want to show how dangerous a philosophy is that some organization, government or otherwise, can make a person do what is against their most deeply held beliefs."

McNutt, during the presentation of the bill, read from the First Amendment and the Texas Constitution.

"We came up with the new bill -- the new bill that does not point out anyone," McNutt said of the reworked proposal. "If you think this is pointing someone out, it is a fabrication in your head that you have created on your own."

Some senators tried to delay the vote, saying that the reworked bill had not been thoroughly vetted, but the attempt fell short.

Emotions were close to the surface.

Some senators cursed, and some students stormed out. The woman tallying the senators' decision started crying as the votes were cast.

The bill now moves to the desk of student body president John Claybrook, who told The Eagle that a "veto is always on the table" but that he was still mulling the decision.

"I don't wish students to be disenfranchised with this or anything that this body does because these are students who have a home here and who are cared about by thousands and thousands and thousands of students. The actions by a few should not make them feel like this is not their home," he said.

If signed, the legislation would be forwarded to A&M President R. Bowen Loftin, A&M Chief Financial Officer B.J. Crain, System Chancellor John Sharp and the regents, but administrators within A&M's student affairs and finance divisions would have final say over any changes to the center's budget, according to a university spokesman.

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(175) comments

Chad Finley

Dear Texas, please secede.

Signed, the other 49.

Lillian Kaufer

so everyone opposed to this nonsense, opt out of funding all clubs that are "religious" in nature. Fair's fair.

Serious

GLBT...give me a break. Tell me again why any $$ is going to them. Keep your sexual orientation to yourself and stop cramming it down my throat with additional fees and taxes. What‘s next, a parade?

ianm

so you also support students being allowed to remove funding for religious groups on campus? i dont want your religion stuffed down my throat, nor do i wish to pay for it with additional fees.

Serious

Didn't say anything about religion...stop blaming religion. Just stop putting your private life in mine...!!!!

master of disaster

The GLBT center is needed until the day that no one is harassed for being GLBT.

Would Matthew Shepherd have died if he were straight?

Jason Glastetter

Religious students of all varieties should be offended by this, and immediately get back every single cent they paid to fund the student senate!

Cristan Williams

Religious exemption? Not spreading HIV/AIDS? Are you kidding?

Unless they are going to allow the same kind of exemption to atheists/agnostic so that atheist students know that no part of their money is paying to support any Chaplin service, these religious bigots don't get a special privilege like this. This is a very specific action aimed at giving special privileges to one specific class of bigot.

The assertion that LGBT Centers cause AIDS is demonstrably wrong.

You know, I grew up in Pasadena Texas just down from the Klan HQ. They too would pass out propaganda warning against the threat gay people posed. Anyone with google can see that any anti-gay hate group makes the same tired arguments these anti-gay students have made. Shame on them!

Not being having a special right that no other student has when paying tuition is just like a partial birth abortion? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!? How damaged must a mind be that absurd assertions like that sound reasonable? People should be embarrassed that this level of credulity represents A&M!

Michelle Hernandez

Correction: the vote was 33-30

jer2

Don't you all get your bowels in an uproar here. No way will the SBP or President Whipple sign off on this. The left wing media is all ready all over us and passage of this will give them more reason to trounce on Texas A&M because it's views do not match theirs. With a narrow majority support, it will limp to Whipple. While I don't condone the homosexual agenda, I also don't think that they should single handily be pointed out. Just because I think traditions council is stupid doesn't mean that I can defund it by vote.

jer2

Don't you all get your bowels in an uproar here. No way will the SBP or President Whipple sign off on this. The left wing media is all ready all over us and passage of this will give them more reason to trounce on Texas A&M because it's views do not match theirs. With a narrow majority support, it will limp to Whipple. While I don't condone the homosexual agenda, I also don't think that they should single handily be pointed out. Just because I think traditions council is stupid doesn't mean that I can defund it by vote.

Tommi Ivey

As a former student I am angered by this bill. My sister, also an Aggie, is gay and she was scared to come out while at A&M, except to me. I don't want to be like the weirdos in Austin, and I love our traditional values, but for crying out loud this is ridiculous and awful.

There were tons of organizations I didn't like when I was a student, but I would never have wanted to hold their funding back.

Y'all need to grow up. The real world is no longer going to tolerate such hate. Call it what you want, but you are just being prejudice. If you are going to stop funding student programs for religion, then you better stop any and all funds to the Aggie Football team and that includes your sport pass, kiddos, because they touch the skin of a dead pig. Another sin listed in the Bible.

"And the swine, because it divideth the hoof, yet cheweth not the cud, it is unclean unto you: ye shall not eat of their flesh, nor touch their dead carcass." Deuteronomy 14:8

Do not pick and chose your sins. The bible is antiquated and needs to be viewed with such eyes, unless you want to bring back stoning.

How many of the students who supported this have had pre-martial sex? I am betting its pretty high. Oh yeah and that ham you ate for Easter....tsk tsk. You sinning fools.

Grow up children the real world is not centered around one religious doctrine and you will need to accept and work with people of all faiths or even none at all. Thanks and Gig'em. BTHO intolerance!

roy g

I agree with your sentiments, but one tiny correction. Footballs haven't been made out of pig bladders in ages. Professional and collegiate grade footballs are made of polyurethane or rubber bladders jacketed in leather panels.

FTAC2003

Well the obvious next step is to defund Beutel since it condones pre-marital sex by prescribing birth control and treating STDs.

Go big or go home, idiots.

-WM, '03

kittiagg95

So much for the saying we all used to use with pride ... "Aggies helping Aggies." You may not agree with the lifestyle of the members of the GLBT community, but homosexuality isn't a "choice". Therefore, they shouldn't be condemned for something they didn't choose. However, they *should* be allowed to have a safe place to learn about resources that will help them cope with the homophobia and intolerance that runs rampant on campus.

Texas A&M is a world-class university that draws students from all corners of the world - various lifestyles and cultures. Tolerance and acceptance should be practiced. Students should be learning more than what is available in the classrooms with all the diversity -- gaining a truly world class education.

This isn't the 1870s, when the university was just getting started. This is the 21st century. Quit allowing fear and ignorance to guide the direction of the school. The 7th most hostile campus towards the GLBT community in the nation?? All Aggies should be ashamed, and the current student population needs to be educated beyond their history, agriculture, and engineering classes.

agnerd

We already have a Diversity Institute and a Student Counseling Service. Why do we also need a GLBT Service Center?

Sam Matchuk

I don't live off campus so why should my fees go to an Adult, Graduate, and Off Campus Student Services? I don't drink so why should my fees go to the Alcohol and Drug Education Programs? I don't have conflicts so why should my fees to to Student Conflict Resolution Services? Most 'nerds' can critically evaluate the need for these and the GLBT services, and why because of past and continuing discrimination and overt hate under the guise of religion that some groups need to have special support. If A&M wasn't so GLBT unfriendly, then of course there would be no reason for supporting such a center. Until that time, get a life and realize why these centers exist.

MB2009

I agree with the Agnerd. And when did A&M become so GLBT unfriendly?? I'm pretty sure no one cares. A&M is an ultra conservative school, yes, but I don't recall a single incident that would be considered cruel or "unfriendly" to the GLBT community. I'm sure they are treated the exact same as everyone else. They even get a parade...can I have a straight parade? Or a ginger out reach program, because there are some serious discrimination out there for red heads. Do GLBT want to be treated the same or extra special? I'm confused about what the goal is here. I don't have a problem with the GLBT community, but it is a religious issue. No one can change that.

obasfirst

you just showed the need for a GLBT center.
Nobody cares? Where have you been.

You don't recall a single incident? That must mean there was no incident right. Just like Mississippi didn't have any incident of hate crime.

Send your comments to president@tamu.edu....tell him your degree is demeaned...tell him you are against hatred. Tell him to read "We are the Aggies, the Aggies are We"....tell him that A&M is a laughing stock nationally.

Nunya Bidness

Or, if you're on the other side of the issue, email him and tell him that too. Exercise your right to free speech, and refuse to be shouted down by those who disagree with you.

Gandalfthewhite

You are absolutely right that they should voice their opinion but if they are being shouted down maybe they are in the minority. Expressing your right to free speech does not mean you can oppress another population and this is oppression plane and simple but then you are a good cult follower.

because

Oregon Duck, you are bringing up a good point: Why is the whole administration silent about the spectacle a few McNutcases are instigating?

obasfirst

A&M paid millions to enter the SEC to get more and better "exposure", it's paying Jason Cook $250K to promote and "brand" the A&M name. It takes the student senate an hour to make A&M look like a backward place again. Good job

Aggieprof

Well, I guess we now get national exposure for free, maybe not the exposure we want....

UncommonSense

Great point. I wonder how many homosexuals play sport at A&M. . . .

BCS person

Nice. Do you think homosexuals do not play sports? Homophobia at it's best

obasfirst

if they want to "opt-out" for paying , they should pay the difference to other student services, plus a 10% (or so) administrative cost. So at least they pay more.

rodney

I clicked this story from a FB post and while reading, all I kept thinking is that my editor in college would approve of how it was written. Good lede, perfect first quote, amazing detail. Then, I looked to see I was reading theeagle.com and the article was, in fact, written by my college editor. ha! Nice job, Allen

Gandalfthewhite

The University should take down all the signs that say pride leadership diversity honor, integrity or whatever other slogans about being an Aggie that are hanging along the roads around campus. The student senate has just presented the case quite successfully that those things are no longer the heart of the Aggie culture but instead a push to the segregated and discriminating backwoods of yesterday are on the horizon.

Nope

I'm a former Aggie, and I'm disgusted. This is so unfortunate. I came to the school in 2005 questioning religion, and graduated with maybe the most empowering knowledge I could've ever received thanks to this kind of rhetoric - that is that religion is slowing this country back to the crawl it endured during past witch hunts. A&M is a great school with very dedicated and loyal students. That's great. But the culture is often too incorrigible for its own good. I'm sure many wish they could decide not to financially support any Christian organization or initiative during their College Station tenure, but guess what, they can't; and these orgs are a part of the pluralism that makes large "public" schools so great. I hope this is just a requirement from the Southeastern Conference (would not be surprised), and not a voluntary display of school ignorance and hatred. At least the south still has Austin, send the LGBT community here, we'll treat them with dignity like all deserve - even the so called "merciful" Christians.

Nunya Bidness

Nice try. No former student of Texas A&M would EVER call themselves a "former Aggie".

Troll.

Aggieprof

C'mon Sabio, as an Eastcoaster pretending to be a Texan redneck you shouldn't point fingers.

Nunya Bidness

I can promise you, having grown up here, I've lived here FAR longer than you.

obasfirst

sure, so what yeardid you graduate form A&M?

Nunya Bidness

Early 80's...for what it's worth.

Aggieprof

Sabio: I lived here long enough to recognize the difference between the normal Texan redneck and the over the top guy...
Your knowledge on rednecks must come from some of the Jeff Foxworthy quotes.

the real slim shady

Sabio, this one would.

Newsed

No worries! Aggieland is becoming more like Austin every day. This too shall pass.

UncommonSense

Whoops.

Here's the link to the group.

Gig 'em.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/371441962971984/

UncommonSense

Hey everyone.

In light of what has happened, we created this group to support the veto of the so-called "Religious Exemption Funding Bill."

It's an open Facebook group. All are welcome. Pass it on, Ags.

Anthony Pannone

Justin Tejas

As an atheist, would one be allowed to opt out of any fees that fund any religious purpose?

Newsed

How easy is it to form a student organization and receive funding? Are there stipulations? I'm a red-headed step-child and everyone knows how we have been rejected, mocked, laughed at, and disenfranchised over the years. Perhaps I could start a student organization with fellow red-headed step-children and we could receive funding with no objections. Why not if no one has the right to object and not pay fees for our group? In fact, let's not stop until student fees are 5x tuition--the more the merrier! What's another student loan?

agnerd

Again, no student organizations are funded by the student services fee. A&M has created the GLBT Service Center that is paid for with student fees and is mandatory. The GLBT student organization does not get student fees. The Young conservatives student org. does not get student fees. So you can easily form your red-headed step children club, but you will not get funding for it from student fees.

Kenwyn Nelson

While I in No way support this bill, if it actually ended up passing, it'd be interesting to see the aftereffects. By metaphorically throwing the LGBT community under the bus, it could open a door to reducing other school fees by setting a precedent. "My _____ dictates that I can't _______. Why should I have to pay for it?" Fill in the blanks as needed.

In hindsight, "throwthing the LGBT community under the bus" may have not been the best metaphor for this campus.

scubabird06

What gets me even more than the discrimination, is how little this makes since from the bill collection aspect. As a former Aggie at galveston, I spent 8 years working on a BS and Masters and the whole time kept seeing new fees add on and fees and tuition keep rising and rising. A gym fee when I never used the gym because it wasn't optional, a library fee when there wasn't enough computers, required meal plans as an undergrad that often went to waste, increasing health fees to be seen by student doctors at UTMB, field trip and lab fees for classes with no field trips or labs, tuition rising every semester.... All this was mandatory and there was no picking and choosing what my money went to even when I strongly opposed it or had no use for it. Why should this be different. And to make it worse the GLBT community probably wouldn't even need it or spend less money on it if everyone just agreed to disagree and moved on instead of crying that they don't like the scary gay people.

Nunya Bidness

Yet another troll. For you mullets out there who want to claim to be one of us, calling yourself a "former Aggie" is a dead give-away that not only are you NOT an Aggie, it is also obvious that you know nothing about the place.

Paige Gordon

Poor Aggie.....you dont even KNOW what this organization does. These organizations to NOT promote the lifestyle. They help people cope with the discrimination and bigotry. They help people who are about to commit suicide because of the daily hatred they encounter on campus, by getting them to the right place for help....They help those who are friends and relatives of the LBGT community learn ways to redirect negativity towards a particular people and create a positive learning experience....Like when we accepted women and African Americans. Some conservatives are truly in the dark idiots.

elf

Because of my religion, I strongly believe that alcoholic beverages are a sin against God. Since I strongly oppose on a religious basis any organization that regularly makes alcoholic beverages available to its members (even to its underage members), I oppose university funding of any event that the Greeks present, as well as the Greek council itself.

agnerd

Great! Problem is student fees don't fund the Greeks or Greek Council or their events.

Paige Gordon

The thing is now I want to see the entire list of what the money goes for so that I can pick and choose based on "religious reasons" what my sons fees go for. Just this one area is NOT ok.....I need to see and be allowed to make an informed decision on all the entities that get the money. Period.

agnerd

Ask and you shall receive:

-Adult, Graduate & Off Campus Student Services
-Alcohol & Drug Education Programs
-GLBT Resource Center
-New Student & Family Programs
-Student Conflict Resolution Services
-Student Media

BONNIE WINNER

Agnerd, I often agree with you and your right winged remarks but as one from the left side I understand and agree on non-funding of this issue. I do not see it as a religious object as much as a not a University objection. Say we start a group supporting toe suckers before sex, society of whips and chains in sex, alternate sex convention of sex with toys or just plain ole Sex R US Perverts. Would this same bunch of homosexuals be all about supporting this. Would that group be something that supported the ideals of the school and the alumni. We all know that being a que.. is ok, we always had Band Qs, Grade Pointe Qs, etc but no need to waste money to tell people and announce that there are Que,, on campus. Have a great day and squeeze 'em Army, not sure what that means to the girls but sure glad President Rudder let them in as we are greater with them, not so sure that identifying homosexuals will have the same effect.

kittiagg95

The resource center is not about sex and a lifestyle choice. It's about getting resources to people in the GLBT community - as well as their family and friends - on how to cope with the narrow-minded bigotry, hatred and vile intolerance they are subjected to on a daily basis. Why should they be denied an education in, say, Engineering or Agriculture when A&M has some of the best programs in the nation for those areas just because other people feel uncomfortable about something they don't understand?

BONNIE WINNER

First in my mind is that an organization promoting ones sexual preference has no reason to exist anywhere much less at the University. I really am not concerned about what you do in your private world but to force me to support your sexual issues is wrong. What would be the response if a group formed to support sexual perverts, whips and leather, mono sex or sex on a scooter. No reason and no place.

agnerd

I think they should be allowed to exist on campus, but I don't think they should be allowed to receive university money or student fees to pay for it.

freedom_72

@hotdog It's not an "organization promoting ones sexual preference" but one that aims to create a safe environment for students who face discrimination and bullying due to their sexual orientation.
It's interesting that the same people who say that they don't care what other (gay) people do in private are often the same people who discriminate against (gay) people only because of their sexual orientation.

freedom_72

...only because of their sexual orientation and who compare being gay with some random sex practices (toe sucking, sex with toys...).
JFYI: toe sucking is not a sexual orientation.

Gandalfthewhite

The organization is to help students deal with the very issue this stupid bill represents.

KHud316

This is not the way to go Ags! Even if you do not agree with the lifestyle that LGBT students live, you need to realize that EACH student organization that has been legitimized by the university needs to get equal share of the general student funds. The end result of this will not be pretty. Due to this being appeal and taken into court I predict that soon, you will get to kiss all funding to student orgs goodbye if you can't play nice together! This includes Christian orgs that were near and dear to my life and Christian walk as a student! Goodbye to byx, phi lamb, Impact (2nd largest student run org on campus), ASC, KYX, the list goes on and on... Love your GLBT fellow Aggies, they are people, LOVE them as Christ does!!!

freedom_72

Thank you KHud316, finally a Christian who "gets it"!
Just one thing: being gay is not a "lifestyle" or a "lifestyle choice". It's just the way some people are.

agnerd

This isn't about STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS. It's about using student money to pay the salaries of the adults and the RESOURCE CENTER's expenses that are incurred while operating this student service center. The GLBT student organization is not affected at all.

because

Great! We are already making national News:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/01/texas-am-glbt-center_n_2993790.html

Esha Singh

I feel sad hearing that student's in this country ahve not learnt tolerance and discriminate people on the basis of their sexual preferences. Why do we need to involove religion in everything !!!

agnerd

Noone is arguing for intolerance, just that homosexuals and heterosexuals be treated equally. Equality means not operating a center with student fees that supports homosexuals without also offering one that supports heterosexuals.

scubabird06

Last time I checked I didn't feel ashamed for being straight and no one made fun of me or attacked me or what ever for liking the other sex. If I see that happening I totally support funding for a "hetero center". And if I can remove my funding from the GLBT center for "religious" reasons can I remove it from Christian, Jewish, Islamic services centers or student groups? How about International student support or African American groups? Sounds legit to me.

agnerd

Your student fees do not fund religious groups at A&M. They raise their own money. So do the African American groups. So no dice on those. If your religion is against all international students, then you would be able to withhold funding from the International Student Support center. They will want to see documentation though to support your claim.

bullet

"... without also offering one that supports heterosexuals."

They ALL support heteros, you nitwit. Hetero is the default, privileged position.

rf7777

So A&M is going to start letting students picks and choose what they want to fund and what they don't want to fund from their student activity fees? Kind of like a sushi menu? Oh that certainly won't come under any legal scrutiny!

This new push to protect bigotry by the christianists is just a last ditch effort to hate the gays (or whatever group their bible tells them to hate). We'll all laugh about how ridiculous it was in 20 years...

agnerd

They just want GLBTs and heteros to be treated equally. If student fees are used for a GLBT center, they should use the same amount of funding to start a Hetero center. Since the University has refused to fund the Hetero center, it only makes sense that the GLBT center lose its funding.

TexAg08

What a travesty for such a fine University to have such vitriol coming from its own student body senate. Hopefully this is only a temporary black mark that can be erased away with time and change in guard in the student senate. I will always be a proud Fightin' Texas Aggie class of 08, but I cannot be proud of this. I struggled with my sexuality during the time I was at A&M, but only because of my experiences that I had through my time there and the friends I made, was I able to come to terms with my sexuality.

agnerd

I am proud that these students fight for religious freedom and equality based on sexual orientation. Student fees shouldn't be used to promote one sexual preference without providing an equal amount of financial support for all sexual preferences.

Kenwyn Nelson

Hetero haven't been shunned, disowned, beaten, killed, etc for their sexual preference. Maybe some pinpoint support would be good for the other preferences.

agnerd

Or how about if he just use student fees to encourage acceptance of all people regardless of their politics, religion, race, sexual orientation, etc. without earmarking funds to single out any group in particular. Just like the Diversity Training Institute that already exists on campus:
http://dms.tamu.edu/dti/

I think the DTI eliminates the need for GLBT Service Center.

Kim Topp

Oh geez. I think it's pretty safe to say that Lambda Legal will get involved. It was a lawsuit in Madison about 10 years ago. Segregated student activity fees don't tend to fly well in the court system.

because

But I guess we have to wait until A&M buys the lowest rated law school of the state before realizing that.....

SevenOneThree

Wait, A&M bought out Thurgood Marshall?

katemae

I am saddened by the animosity felt between the GLBT community and the christian community. I understand that this debate is more than just a bill that seems to persecute indivdiuals freedoms. However. I encourage all of you, no matter your sexual orientation or moral beliefs to look to where I think true life and truth is found and this is Jesus Christ. I am sorry if any of you are offended by this name, but that is only because christians have done a poor job of misrepresenting it and I admit that I have struggled with this representing it as well. But I challenge all of you, myself included, no matter gay or straight, no matter if you have been a christian for many years or if you have an extreme disdain for the christian faith....I challenge you to get to know this man who I believe is the answer to all questions in life. John 14:6: Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

rf7777

I am ashamed at my alma mater. While always "conservative" I never felt this kind of bigotry there. The christianists will not stop until all of Texas is dragged back into the dark ages.

agnerd

How is equality the same as bigotry? These students just want all sexual preferences to be supported equally by the university. By using student fees to only support one sexual orientation, they are discriminating against heterosexuals. Since the university has refused to start a Heterosexual Resource Center, this bill is their only option to try to achieve equality.

Gandalfthewhite

And where is the discrimination of heterosexual students. Simply funding a center that helps LGBT deal with discrimination from heterosexual student's like yourself is hardly discrimination. That's like a crook saying that paying for a policeman is discrimination.

agnerd

I missed the part where I said I was hetero and discriminated against GLBTs.

SevenOneThree

Yeah, poor, poor heterosexuals. It seems like only yesterday that a heterosexual was chained to the back bumper of a car, driven around, and then beat to death.

Mark M

agnerd: A "heterosexual resource center" is also known as every day life for the majority of people. Try to move past your idea of equality and shoot for equity.

freedom_72

Translation: anti-gay discrimination is OK as long as it is religiously motivated. What's next Texas A&M Student Senate? Bullying against LGBT students is OK as long as it is perpetrated by people with "sincerely held religious beliefs"? Very disappointing, I thought young people, even in a state like Texas, where more accepting of gay people and more open-minded in general. Guess not.

agnerd

If anything there is reverse-discrimination here. There is no support center using student fees to provide money for the Anti-gay Student Resource Center. A non-discriminatory parctice would be to create an anti-gay resource center and give it enough money to match the funding given to the GLBT center. Is that what you want?

because

You are right: there is no center for "Anti-Gay-Groups". Neither is there (and should not be) a center for an "Anti-Christian-Group", an "Anti-Moslem-Group", an "Anti Heterosexual Group" etc...

You get my point?

agnerd

There also is not a center for a Pro-Christian-Group or Pro-Muslim-Group or Pro-Heterosexual-Group. MY POINT IS: Why does the Pro-Gay-Group service center get university money when none of these other groups do?

Equality would demand that the Pro-Hetero-Sexual group get equal funding. Anything else is reverse discrimination. Your move.

because

Yes there are, agnerd:

https://studentactivities.tamu.edu/app/organization/profile/public/id/1018
https://studentactivities.tamu.edu/app/organization/profile/public/id/1013

agnerd

^^^ Those are student ORGANIZATIONS. They do not receive funding from A&M student fees like the GLBT Resource Center.

freedom_72

I think the problem with your argument is that you seem to believe that treating LGBT people with dignity and respect and with this in mind creating a safe environment for LGBT students in one of the most LGBT-unfriendly universities is somehow discriminatory against Christians. Well, it's not, it's just honoring the basic principle of treating everybody with the same dignity and respect, or as some Christians would say "Love your neighbor as yourself". And just to be clear, Christians have every right to believe that homosexuality is a sin, but that doesn't give them the RIGHT (at least not in public, secular settings) to discriminate against LGBT people based on that belief. Because the US is no theocracy, we still have separation of church and state.

agnerd

I don't care about Christians any more than I care about Muslims, athiests or any other religion. But I do support equality. Using studnet fees to pay for a Pro-Gay service center while refusing to pay for a Pro-Heterosexual Service Center is reverse discrimination. All student fees should for the GLBT center should be eliminated.

freedom_72

@agnerd: I think the problem with your argument is that you seem to believe that treating LGBT people with dignity and respect and with this in mind creating a safe environment for LGBT students in one of the most LGBT-unfriendly universities is somehow discriminatory against Christians. Well, it's not, it's just honoring the basic principle of treating everybody with the same dignity and respect, or as some Christians would say "Love your neighbor as yourself". And just to be clear, Christians have every right to believe that homosexuality is a sin, but that doesn't give them the RIGHT (at least not in public, secular settings) to discriminate against LGBT people based on that belief. Because the US is no theocracy, we still have separation of church and state.

agnerd

I'm not anti-gay or anti-christian. I just want EQUALITY. I don't wany a single student dollar funding the GLBT service center unless they also create a Heterosexual Service Center with equal funding. To be honest, I don't think religion has a place in the debate at all. I think the GLBT center should be completely eliminated unless they can pay all their own bills with private donations. Reverse the debate and I would also support eliminating funding for a Heterosexual service Center if no GLBT service center existed.

freedom_72

@agnerd Pro-Hetero-Sexual group? The problem with your argument is that it's based on the false premise that heterosexuals are facing the same difficulties and specific discriminations due to their (hetero)sexual orientaion. Heterosexuals haven't been shunned, disowned, beaten, killed, bullied etc. only because they're heterosexual. I think no one can deny this, not even you.

agnerd

@freedom_72 Finally a good argument against my opinion! I do appreciate the argument, but don't agree that past bullying or beatings are a reason to spend all students money to fund a support center. Otherwise they would need to create a support center for me and all the other nerds that got beaten up, shunned and bullied only for being dorks. Same with muslims, black kids that went to white schools, white kids that went to black schools, etc.

Again, I don't agree with you, but you do make a good argument.

Zippy

The student senate shows no bravery here, only intolerence and a rigid ideology that is out of touch with America. Another Aggie Joke.

agnerd

So freedom of religion is un-American? The drafters of the Constitution would disagree.

kacw2012

The glorification of rganized sports take away from the praising of our lord. I would like a refund for the student fees I pay towards the rebuilding of Kyle Filed.

agnerd

If your documented religious beliefs support that claim, you will be able to opt out. However, if you are caught watching or attending a game, your exemption will be rescinded just as it should be.

master of disaster

Does my money go toward all the faith based organizations on campus? I'll bet it does.

I would also be interested if Judaism, Zoroasterianism or Islam were represented in the Interfaith Chapel - but every time I go there during December I just see the manger. As if though Agnerd and Sabio actually understood the teachings of Christ.

Geezer

All these groups on campus should fund themselves by their own members or interested donators--NOT by forced "fees" or "taxes" (what?!)

bnew92

It is not funding a group. The group, GLBT Aggies, is separate and student-funded. The fee funds the GLBT Resource Center, which uses similar resources as the Writing Center and the Career Center which are also funded by student fees.

agnerd

The writing center and career center are specifically geared towards helping ALL students. The GLBT resource center uses student fees to help only a very small portion of the student population.

freedom_72

@agnerd "help only a very small portion of the student population."

Maybe that's because this "very small portion of the student population" faces difficulties and specific discriminations that most of the other students don't face.

agnerd

Exactly! They can raise their own money to support their cause just like any religious group on campus.

Matt Hurst

Except being gay is not a religion. Do you even think before you type?

agnerd

My point is that I don't want student fees going to pay for any religious, political, or sexual service center on campus with equal funding for all religious, political, and sexual service centers on campus. Make everyone equal.

jerry b-cs

I always laugh when Christians justify their stance against homosexuallity by using the "sin" card, as if they never sin in their daily lives. I've been around decades longer than these kids at TAMU and been a believer for over 40 years. I can tesitfy that some of most crooked deals I have been the victum of were perpetrated by "Christian" business people. Some of the biggest scams were run by "Christian" churches and organizations and some of the most immoral people I ever met claimed to be "Christian".

Viper21

I applaud the Student Senate for demonstrating the moral courage to uphold and defend traditional values. It is not hate to say that bad behavior is wrong. If you cannot recognize homosexuality as bad behavior, then you are probably the victim of indoctrination through our public school system which teaches the absurd post-modern propaganda of moral relativism. All these other issues are fallacious red herrings, intended to distract from the one at hand: homosexual behavior is wrong and should not be encouraged or supported.

Travis Jarratt

Haha!!! Lolchristian says what on indoctrination in public schools? Don't get me started on how ludicrous that statement is. Please, keep you venom to yourself Viper21.

bluebell81

ya because it's never "venom" if it's coming from a liberal standpoint.

Travis Jarratt

Well, I am arguing for human rights and equality of access to resources. The people arguing against this bill have places they can go to when they need help. If they are depressed they have their churches, their pastors, and their families. Many of those in the LGBTQ community have lost much of their access to these resources that you take for granted. Additionally, there are resources on campus for students to use as well. However, there have obviously been issues with abuses in these general services or this center would not be needed. So if arguing for a safe and secure place for someone who is bullied, alone, and at their wits end in a hostile environment is a liberal standpoint? If arguing that those who as a community (which espouses acceptance, love, and generosity) have failed to make their place safe from the bigotry and hatred rife among the campus take an active role in correcting this failure? If that is a liberal standpoint then paint me blue. But I call it humanism. I call it the right thing to do. I call it justice!

Viper21

It is not hate to call bad behavior wrong.

Gandalfthewhite

You have a right to your opinion and religious beliefs but absolutely no right to impose it on someone else. If there has been and indoctrination here might you look in the mirror and at those you listen to daily.

bluebell81

perhaps they feel they are being imposed on by someone else. it's never the liberals who are imposing, it's always the conservatives huh?

David Nelson

This action by the "student council" will have no effect on the GLBT Resource Center on campus. Either the Student Body President will veto it, or the university administration will ignore it. It does, however, have one practical purpose. It once again puts A&M in an unfavorable light in comparison with other universities. It joins a long list of other relatively recent embarrassments: the blackface video, affirmative action bake sales, the egging of the picture of President Obama which African-American football players put a stop to, and the national publicity that followed the announcement by an A&M alumnus, on an Aggie on-line forum, that he had proudly fired an employee who voted against his preferred candidate in the 2008 presidential election. It tells the world, once again, that when you step on the Texas A&M campus, set your watch back 50 years.

because

I agree: fortunately the Student Body President seems to be somebody with a head on this shoulders. I am also sure that our lawyers will advise against this move which will certainly generate a law suit which the University will certainly lose.

But once again this action by a couple of McNutcases will be an embarrassment to Texas A&M.

agnerd

What an embarassing school to attend. I'm sure all my neighbors will cancel their season tickets because of this. I'm sure my coworkers will stop wearing their Aggie rings too. I don't know how I can live with myself having a Former Student sticker on my car.

But some people actually base their opinion of a SCHOOL on the quality of the graduates that are produced instead of the political opinions of a certain subset of students. But us close-minded Aggies are incapable of such judgement and will instead continue to be ashamed of A&M. Look for Kyle Field to be empty this year if I am right...

Gandalfthewhite

Why should students fund any student organization that promotes the social conservative stance that prairie girl appears to support. That form of extreme beliefs should not drive the basis of funding for a public university which is open to all beliefs and orientations. This is just a vague attempt to allow evangelical churches to impose their belief set on the remainder of the population

agnerd

I disagree with prairie girl's condemnation of gays, but I support her point. Evangelicals aren't funded on campus with student fees while the GLBT resource center is. Accordingly, I don't think student fees should be used to fund any organization (or resource center) with a political or religious message. Currently, only the GLBT resource center violates this funding ideal.

Mark M

Exactly what "political or religious" message is espoused by the GLBT Resource Center?

bluebell81

if the proposal allows for religious exemption, I'm pretty sure you'd be able to exempt yourself from funding organizations with "extreme beliefs" so you could probably opt out of funding christian groups. you'd like that wouldn't you?

agnerd

Christian groups aren't funded by the student services fee. They get their money from private donors. So yes, I would be ok with NOT funding religious service centers since they do not exist on A&M's campus.

bluebell81

there are plenty of student organizations with "christian" in their names that get funding from the school. Take the FLO FLIC for example "freshman leaders in Christ" they make you sign a statement of religious beliefs to be considered for membership. there is also CEL "christian engineering leaders" so yes, there are religious organizations funded by fees.

either way, I wasn't replying to you agnerd. i was replying to gandalf. he's the one calling them extreme. check the really confusing lines that link everything together on the side.

agnerd

^^^ the student organizations you mention above do not get a penny from the Student Services Fee. Again, this is not about student organizations. It's about using the student services Fee to fund the GLBT service center.

Travis Jarratt

If this "Religious Funding Exemption Bill" does not protect just a single religious belief, then those who oppose the funding of religious oriented student services such as the All Faith's Chapel should also be able to opt out their funds from going to such ventures. Will that be allowed under this bill? Or is this bill just another attempt to force others to adhere to a moral stance not their own?

To those using religion as an authority for their support of this bill, is not lying a sin? Where is the bill against lying? What about gluttony? Where is the bill against over eating? Your funds go toward paying for dining services yet I do not see you trying to opt out from that because others are overeating. What about pride? That is a sin too. Should you not also be opting out from paying for football, giant rings, pretty decorations, and expensive A&M branded clothes?

The hypocrisy of the reasons for this bill are astonishing. They are also extremely consistent with the bigotry and hatred that has come to be a standard of the conservative A&M student body. You want a biblical reason for why you should be funding this? "Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. And unto God what is God's." These student funds are Caesar's. Listen to Jesus, the original father of separation of church and state.

Kim Topp

^^^^^^ This!

agnerd

Only documented athiests will be able to opt out of funding the all-faiths chapel since it doesn't support any specific religions.

prairiegirl

Good for them! Why should those who know that homosexuality is a sin have to fund it in any way, shape or form. That does not make one a 'hater'. The followers of Christ that I know follow the 'love the sinner, hate the sin' philosophy. Frankly, I for one am sick and tired of the g/l in-your-face attitude.

Preston Wiginton

Look at the old testament. Christians are the biggest haters ever don't try to deny that. That is your right to do so, but don't try to use love and Christianity in the same sentence.

Geezer

Old Testament says:
Leviticus 18:1-2: "Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 'Speak to the sons of Israel...v. 22: "You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination."'"

Leviticus 20:13: "If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a destestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them."

delia

What about the other verses in Leviticus? Do you eat shell fish and/or catfish? What about your clothing? I love how people like you pick and choose which of the verses you use in promoting your hatred for only certain people/things!

because

Geezer: I guess you just tried to prove Preston's point. As shown by your citation from the bible, Christians are the biggest haters....

bluebell81

you guys sound like pretty big haters for calling christians haters. just sayin'

Nunya Bidness

Ah, the intolerant left trying to force others to tolerate their views. How ironic.

George Hayduke

The bill elevates religious belief to some privileged position where hate is justified as righteous indignation. It proposes a logistically untenable method of allocating funds to student groups. It is a thinly veiled method to ostracize a campus minority. You don’t like how student fees are allocated? What is the phrase that I hear so often around A&M? Highway 6 runs both ways.

Nunya Bidness

Whom do you want Highway 6 to run both ways on this issue? The way student fees were allocated before this vote, or after?!?

bluebell81

the vote doesn't change anything. it still has to be approved by higher ups and it probably won't go through because the school will always want its money.

agnerd

This bill has nothing to do with funding student groups. It's about the student service fee which currently is used to fund a the GLBT center. Notice that there is no student funded Baptist or Catholic center on campus. And that's the problem. The university needs to be in the education business, not the "politics business" or the "religion business." Outside of the funding for the GLBT center, they're done a good job of that.

because

To answer your question about Catholic and Baptists Student Groups:

https://studentactivities.tamu.edu/app/organization/profile/public/id/1018
https://studentactivities.tamu.edu/app/organization/profile/public/id/1013

agnerd

^^^ Those student organizations are not funded by the student services fees.

Gandalfthewhite

This is a public university and supported by public funds that come from all sources, races, religions and se Hal orientation taxpayers. Thus one cannot restrict the funding of the University based solely on religious affiliation. If you want that control go to a private university which has as its mission the support of a particular religious doctrine. Maybe the sponsor McNutt should get a refund on his degree since he seems not to have learned much in political science.

delia

He certainly did not learn anything from the required two courses in intercultural education, either!

bluebell81

I don't claim to be a bible scholar, but I do believe those verses in Leviticus you are referring to are part of the law of moses, of which was certain things were abolished/replaced after the atonement and resurrection of christ. that is probably why you think we pick and choose. perhaps you would be best served to read the bible in its entirety with a proper study guide,

agnerd

You're correct that people can't use religion to avoid taxes because state law ALWAYS trumps religion. You can't muder someone because your religion says its ok. What a public entity like A&M can't do is use university funding to discriminate for or against a group of students based on religion. A&M isn't allowed to fund the Catholic resource center because it conflicts with the religious beliefs of everyone that's not Catholic. By REQUIRING student fees to be used to fund the GLBT center, the university is violating the religious freedoms of every student whose religion views homosexulatiy as a sin. There's nothing wrong with the GLBT student center by itself, and I'm glad it is on campus. But REQUIRING students to contribute their money to it is a violation of their religious freedom.

delia

Reflecting on all of your posts (not only from this article), I would say that you are the intolerable person! Believe it, or not, there are many heterosexuals, who have been married for several years and with grown children, who cannot stand by and see this travesty of hatred wrapped up nicely in a religious wrapping be blown out and spread nationally as to the bigotry and hatred of others that still looms on this campus and surrounding areas.

agnerd

^^^ And that, delia, is what they call a personal attack. When you can no longer debate the issue and instead resort to personal attacks.

bluebell81

haha. that's always the case sabio. the intolerant left can't stand intolerance.

obasfirst

or is is the the religious right crying they are being discriminate because they cannot discriminate

George Hayduke

Fail. Who raised these children anyway? This goes to show you that in spite of all the spin and branding, A&M is still A&M, Texas is still Texas.

bluebell81

then don't go to a&m and don't live in texas. sounds simple enough.

agnerd

Would it be ok to use student fees to pay for the Catholic Service Center on campus?

the real slim shady

I wish it could be retroactive because I would like to be refunded for the cost of the MSC fee, the Rec Center fee, sports fees, and the fees for the campus buses. And naturally, I would like to be refunded the portion of my fees that was received by the might-as-well-be skinheads like the people who initiated, supported and passed this bill that sounds like a thinly veiled hate crime.

delia

I was at the forum last night. Got there early and overheard some of the student senators talking to each other. Believe me, this bill is just pure hatred, bigotry, and homophobia wrapped up in a "religious and moral issues" package!

agnerd

Please post a link to your religion's documented beliefs. I'm not aware of any religions that are against walking into a building, working out, attending a sporting event, or using public transportation.

Matthew Davis

You seem to put great stock in this "documentation" thing. How will this work? What about students who are freethinkers or atheists?

agnerd

The only reason I mention "documented" is because the courts have found that religious beliefs should be documented in some form to be valid when related to freedom of religion. It would keep a prisoner from deciding to form his own religion with only himself as a member to stipulate that he could only be fed Tbone steaks while in prison. In other words, making something up doesn't count towards freedom of religion.

Matthew Davis

Of course. And no doubt anything that doesn't have a heirarchy will be considered to be "made up," right?

the real slim shady

It's called the Church of the Real Slim Shady. I doubt you would feel comfortable there. I tend to drive around with my windows down and my system up and with one finger on each hand up.

bullet

Quakers

ftw

Can students also be exempt from paying fees for football if violence is against their religion?

Or how about Christians wanting to be exempt from paying fees that go towards muslin groups? Or the other way around?

The list could go on and on where no one payed any fees that were not going to fund education. Although I could see a situation where people would not want to pay fees that go to a class where Darwinism or evolution is taught. What then?

Nunya Bidness

Again with the false analogy. Student fees don't go to pay for football. Student sports passes, which are optional, pay for football. Pure intellectual dishonesty, period.

Gandalfthewhite

One way or another student fees will pay 75 million for the football stadium, it cannot be raised solely from sports passes because the price of a sports pass would no longer be affordable by students. If you have to raise 5 million extra a year the pass would nearly double if 15000 passes are sold. Who is being intellectually dishonest.

Travis Jarratt

However, your fees do go to paying for the rec center which is used to help train those students that participate in the sport. So students should be able to stop sending their funds to those programs because they are supporting vanity and pride which are also sins. Tell me again which sin is the one God hates the most? Which one is the one that sends you to hades faster? Is it lying? Hatred? Sex out of wedlock? Or just homosexuality?

Nunya Bidness

Ignorant post. The Rec Center is NOT used to train the football players. ALL of the facilities used for football, training, practice, and game day, are made possible through private money, including money derived from ticket sales and sports passes. ALL of it voluntarily given.

Matthew Davis

Sabio: I was in the BoR meeting where they approved $6million for the new football training facility. Were you?

Nunya Bidness

MatthewDavis, the BOR has to approve ALL construction on campus. That doesn't mean that the State of Texas pays for it. If you WERE there, you'd have heard that the funds for the facility are provided from private sources. Similarly, if you had been at the BOR meeting when the Mitchell Building was approved, it TOO was built with private money. And another example, the new Equestrian Center being built is being built with PRIVATE money, not State money.

In other words, you are dead wrong.

because

Sabio, The only person who is dishonest is you:

You must have read by now several times and you were informed many times
that the administration is planning to charge a fee to EVERY student which is supposed to pay for the renovation of the stadium. In addition the city of College Station is charging a hotel fee to every visitor for that purpose.

Nunya Bidness

because, prove it. Show me where the Administration is PLANNING to charge EVERY student. They have floated it as an option, one among many. Once again, you assert opinions as facts.

Your City of College Station comment is a red herring, and TOTALLY irrelevant to this topic.

because

Calling the city tax a "red herring" doesn't make it go away. It will still be paid for by State and Federal grants when we have visitors for example for conferences.

And the fact that the Administration is planning the fee was reported several times in the THEEAGLE. Of times in the The Eagle. Of course they need the approval of the BoR before implementing it.

They even ran polls on it.

http://www.theeagle.com/news/local/article_1b2245ae-71d0-5c81-8d8d-cc8cea184622.html

Gandalfthewhite

And where do you propose the 5 million a year will come from "the air". If fees are not raised then services will be cut which was a threat from the bowtie guy. That by default means that ALL students pay for football through reduced services or a specific tax to pay for the renovation. Your comments are rampant with dishonesty and consistent with the rather cultish behavior of some in the Aggie domain, like the Student senate who want guns on campus contrary to the wishes of a majority of the student population. In this cult you fit right in.

obasfirst

@sabio

what do you think the chance is that student fees will be used to fund Kyle Field? More than 50% change ,maybe more than 90%. Student fees have always been used for past renovations. Maybe you think this time will be completely different. right

Aggieprof

Let's not take the allknowing to seriously this only turns him/her (because his alter ego is prairiegirl) on even more.

After all, I more and more believe he/she is a Westcoaster trying to imitate a Texan Redneck

Matthew Davis

This is only true until next year. Then there will be a mandatory fee for all students.

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