Texas Legislature is about to pass their General Appropriations Bill (SB1). For most of Texas this isn’t really newsworthy, and for the rest of the country it means even less. What has caught the attention of some Texas residents is what State Rep. Bill Zedler (R-Arlington) did next. An amendment, being called the Zedler Amendment (or Zedler-1) was filed regarding the funding of gender and sexuality related student centers. According to the document, colleges and universities will no longer be able to use any higher education facility, property or funding obtained under this act to “support, promote or encourage any behavior that would lead to high risk behavior for AIDS, HIV, Hepatitis B, or any sexually transmitted disease.”
Yes, you read that correctly. When this bill goes through all centers dedicated to supporting students within the LGBT community through housing or funding will no longer be able to use appropriated money to do so. Rep. Zedler seems to think that giving aid to those students will promote risky lifestyle and spread disease. It seems he’s not alone in that thinking either.
Two weeks ago, Texas A&M’s student Senate introduced a bill on campus that would allow students to decide not to fund the LGBT Resource Center should they have religious objections. It seems its not the first time they have set their sights on the Center either. Two years prior they passed a similar bill that was to require allocated funding for the Center to be split equally with a center for “traditional and family values” but it was vetoed by the student body president.
Camden Breeding, an LGBT activist at A&M said he expects the student senate to pass the bill when it’s voted on but he also says the bill is illegal. He says it would violate a 2000 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said public universities can assist university groups without being in violation of the First Amendment. Texas, it seems has a long way to go before accepting the LGBT students that make up part of the population of their schools.
It’s not too late to stop Zedler-1 from becoming enacted. If enough people step in and object it could be dropped. These outdated and offensive views aren’t acceptable, by any standards. The idea that homosexuals, bisexuals or transsexuals are responsible for the spread of sexually transmitted diseases is a disgusting and bigoted view held on to by anti-gay members of the community. Zedler’s reasoning for filing this amendment on is ridiculous and baseless. Members and supporters of the LGBT community can still contact their representatives to prevent the amendment from coming to fruition.