Texas House votes to allow university groups to ignore non-discrimination policies

Texas House votes to allow university groups to ignore non-discrimination policies

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.

Krause said his amendment would prevent people who disagree with the mission of a group, including a religious organization, from joining the club to subvert it, reported The Dallas Morning News.

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.

A similar measure was approved by the Virgina state legislature earlier this year, and was signed by Gov. Bob McDonnell on March 22. The Virginia law takes effect July 1.

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