Texas A&M’s student body president John Claybrook vetoed a bill Wednesday that was originally designed to allow students with religious objections to opt out of funding the university’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered Resource Center.
The senate passed an amended version of the bill that eliminated language specifically focusing on the center and instead asked the school to publicize procedures that already exist at Texas public schools by which students with religious objections can apply to opt out of funding different programs. Claybrook announced his decision via an open letter that acknowledged vehement opposition to the amended bill.
“After much research and deliberation, I have confidently decided to veto S.B. 65-70, The Religious Funding Exemption bill. Even without the wording that specified particular groups that would be affected in the final version of this bill, the sentiment towards the bill has not changed and has caused great harm to our reputation as a student body and to the students feeling disenfranchised by the bill,” Claybrook wrote. “Although much adjusted in its final form, the good accomplished through this bill pales in comparison to the damage done. The damage must stop today.”
At their meeting later this month, the student senate could override Claybrook’s veto. However, the bill initially passed by a margin of seven votes, which is far short of the two-thirds majority needed for an override in the student senate, which has over 70 members.