AUSTIN — The Texas state House of Representatives on Wednesday voted in favor of a bill to allow student organizations at any of the state’s public universities to discriminate in their membership practices.
The provision by Rep. Matt Krause (R-Fort Worth) passed, 78-67, is part of a bill on the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, and would prohibit Texas universities from requiring student organizations to follow university-wide non-discrimination policies.
If enacted, campus organizations who receive taxpayer funded support from a university would be able to discriminate based on race, religion, veteran status, HIV/AIDS status, gender, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity or expression “if any attribute of the student ‘demonstrates opposition to the organization’s stated beliefs and purposes,’” said Chuck Smith, Executive Director of Equality Texas, in a statement.
It would be up to the coordinating board and university governing boards and administrators to ensure that groups aren’t forced to accept members they don’t want.
The bill now goes back to the Senate, where it’s unclear if support exists.