Texas state Rep. Wayne Christian, R-Center, may have succeeded and failed at the same time.
Christian made headlines during the budget debate in the Texas House of Representatives in early April when he successfully added an amendment to force state universities to spend funds on “Student Centers for Family and Traditional Values.” He reasoned that if places like the University of Texas and Texas A&M University were to continue funding their gender and sexuality centers — which serve women and the LGBTQA community — then those universities should pony up an equal amount of funding for centers that promote “traditional family values.”
Christian explained it like this on the House floor:
Well, currently, the University of Texas, Texas A&M, some other schools have a gender and sexuality center — brick and mortar — that they are using for alternative sexual practices, to encourage them, by allowing them, by teaching them, by giving courses of study, by giving literature, questionnaires. I’m not treading on their rights to do that — to teach alternative sexual behavior — but my amendment says that it would just allow that if they’re going to do it, they have to spend equal dollars teaching, also at that university, or allowing at that university — not teaching — allowing the same space and the same opportunities for traditional family values.
(Continue reading as soon as you’re done giggling at Christian’s insinuation that gender and sexuality centers are helping make college students gay.)
The Texas Independent followed up on the story this week and it turns out that if Christian’s amendment makes it to the final version of the budget, it will be as meaningless as his explanation of “western civilization.” At least that would be the case for the centers at UT and A&M, the apparent targets of Christian’s amendment.
Reports the Independent:
Ana Ixchel Rosal, director of UT’s Gender and Sexuality Center, said the bulk of the center’s $180,000 yearly budget is funded through student service fees (about $164,000) as well as private donations, gifts and grants, making the legislation inapplicable.
“I don’t think this would apply to UT as the amendment speaks specifically to state appropriated funds, and that is not how we are funded,” she said.
The legislation by state Rep. Wayne Christian (R-Center) affects only “appropriated funds” — a term that, according to the Legislative Budget Board, does not include student service fees.
A&M’s GLBT Resource Center is also funded primarily through student service fees, said Dr. Anne Reber, interim director of the Dean of Student Life offices. While a minimal portion of state funds go toward employee salaries, more than half of the cost of maintaining the center itself is student-supported, she said.
Christian has since said that doubts about the applicability of the amendment will be answered by attorneys.
It looks like Rep. Christian was either misinformed or willfully ignorant on this topic. Or maybe he was completely informed and his amendment was just shameless political posturing on the House floor.