Wednesday, April 30, 2014

SC colleges win round over legislators with regards to gay issues

Two South Carolina colleges supposedly in budgetary trouble with the state legislature over gay issues got some very good news yesterday.

From The State:
Senate budget writers voted Wednesday to restore about $70,000 in state money to two S.C. colleges, money the S.C. House voted to cut for assigning gay-themed books. The Senate’s Finance Committee voted 11-7 to restore the money to the budgets of the University of South Carolina-Upstate and the College of Charleston.By removing the money, critics said legislators improperly had interfered with the academic freedom of higher education institutions.

The money had been initially taken away as a sort of punishment because the two colleges offered books featuring gay-themed issues for students to read. Legislators labeled one book, Fun Home, as pornographic and said the other, Outloud: The Best of Rainbow Radio, didn't represent South Carolina values.  The controversy was exacerbated over a now-canceled lecture which one legislator claimed was to "recruit" students into being gay. Needless to say, the entire ado became national with many weighing in and it's safe to say that the majority of folks were not on the side of the legislators. Even South Carolina's governor, Nikki Haley, defended the colleges.

One legislator, who supported the removal of the monies, voiced his weariness of the entire situation.

State Sen. Mike Fair, R-Greenville, who supported the House’s decision to cut the money, said the controversy has been uncomfortable for those who support higher education. “I’m tired of throwing rocks,” Fair said, adding he thought the universities made efforts to respond to lawmakers’ concerns.

Still, according to The State, Fair voted against restoring the money.  In addition, the issue is not over just yet. There will be a joint House/Senate conference committee which will debate the final budget.

So what happens next is anyone's guess.

Related posts:

For SC State Senator Mike Fair, it's all about 'gay sex'

South Carolina's 'Axis of Jackasses' threatens higher education over lgbt issues

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