The Gender and Sexuality Center says it provides "safe spaces for all members of the UT Austin community to explore, organize, and promote learning around issues of gender and sexuality."
If the amendment passes in the Senate, state colleges and universities will be required to support a “family and traditional values” center to match Gender and Sexuality Centers.
The Texas House of Representatives approved an amendment to HB 1 on Friday that could require state colleges and universities to match any gender and sexuality center with a “family and traditional values” center.
Rep. Wayne Christian, R-Center, proposed such amendment as a budgetary provision to HB 1.
“I’m not treading on their rights to teach alternative sexual behavior,” he said.
The actual text of the bill read any institution of higher education that had a “gender and sexuality center or other center for students focused on gay, lesbian, homosexual, bisexual, pansexual, transsexual, transgender, gender questioning, or other gender identity issues” must use the same amount of state funding for a center “advocating heterosexual, traditional values” labeling these sexual practices as alternative lifestyles.
The text allowed for remarks from Democrats including the questioning of what a “pansexual” was by Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio.
A spokesman for Rep. Christian said that they were pushing for institutions to offer programs both for gender and sexuality as well as traditional family lifestyles to create equal encouragement of both sides of the issue.
The vote on the amendment was 110-24.
Anthony Listi, Regional Field Coordinator for CampusReform.org, said, “[Gender and Sexuality Centers] undermine traditional American values regarding sex, love, and marriage and promote promiscuity, homosexual behavior, and abortion among college students.”
According to their website, CampusReform.org is dedicated to helping conservative activists in their “struggle against leftist bias and abuse on college campuses.”
“They are not interested in diversity of thought,” said Listi, who added that gender and sexuality centers intended to eliminate traditional moral and family values and eventually change public policy. “Left-wing professors and administrators use these centers to institutionalize their sexual worldview and bias.”
The Gender and Sexuality Center’s website says that the center was established as a “safe space” for those interested in “exploring and organizing around issues of gender and sexuality.” They provide advising for “support, references, and resources” to both women and men of whatever sexuality.
Ana Ixchel Rosal, director of the Gender and Sexuality Center at the University of Texas, said in interview to The Daily Texan that the center’s annual budget of $180,000 is funded by “student services fees and individual donations” and would not be affected by the budget provision.
A Christian’s spokesman said, “There is a specific part of the fund within the budget this year that sends a certain amount of funding to the universities that provide that service.”
The version of the budget passed on Sunday by the House includes this amendment, but the provision must still be approved in the Senate when they vote on the budget.