A&M student body president vetoes "Religious Funding Exemption Bill"

POSTED: Friday, April 5, 2013 - 6:06pm
UPDATED: Friday, April 5, 2013 - 10:24pm

It's a campus divided at Texas A&M over a controversial student senate bill passed Wednesday.

"We pride ourselves in this institution and I love this institution but it makes me sad people are putting away their Aggie rings right now because they're ashamed," said senior Eric Pinon.

Many feel the "Religious Funding Exemption Bill" is a personal attack on the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community because of the bill's original name: the "GLBT Funding Opt Out Bill."

"I respect anyone's religious beliefs," said Pinon. "I'm personally Catholic but I'm also a member of the GLBT community. My views are my own and I would never put that on anyone else so we should all be respectful and come to common ground and meet in the middle."

Thomas McNutt, co-author of the bill, says it isn't discriminatory against any one organization. It's simply a way to protect student's religious rights.

"If there's a fee that violates your own religious conscious, whatever your beliefs may be, we don't think that you should be forced to pay into something, those trues you hold onto so dearly are violated," said McNutt.

Student Body President John Claybrook said within 24 hours of the bill's passing he received more than 1,300 emails against the vote.

That's why Claybrook knew he had to take a stand in order to protect every student on campus, so Friday morning he vetoed the senate's bill.

"In its final form it didn't specifically name any students but the intent was still there and a lot of students were hurt by this and that's not something I can stand for."

A move Claybrook hopes can help reunite the Aggie family.

The senate can still overwrite Claybrook's veto though at their next meeting on April 17th with a two-thirds majority vote.


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