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Schaefer and Haahr Push to Have Public Universities Subsidize Anti-Gay Discrimination

State Sen. Kurt Schaefer of Columbia has filed a bill that would allow religous groups on college campuses to discriminate while enjoying all the benefits of being subsidized by public funds through the university. Schaefer’s bill mirrors State Rep. Elijah Haahr’s HB 104, a bill that prohibits universities from “burdening” any religious organization with the expectation of not discriminating against members of the public even though that organization is being subsidized by the public.

Sadly, these anti-gay discrmination bills aren't new.


Over the past ten years, many Christian groups, such as the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and Christian Legal Society, have tried to challenge these policies on various campuses by requiring that candidates for officer positions not identify as gay, because homosexuality is against their religious beliefs. When campuses then revoke their privileges, they claim that it’s a violation of their religious freedom, but so far, courts have upheld universities’ “all-comers” policies — as in, all who come must be free to participate equally.

And when the United States Supreme Court looked into current 'all comers' policies in 2010, it found that they are fine.

Christian Legal Society v. Martinez

Holding: A public college does not violate the First Amendment by refusing to officially recognize a student organization unless it allows all students to join the group, even if that all comers policy requires a religious organization to admit gay students who do not adhere to the group's core beliefs.

Here's more, from Slate

There’s only one issue truly in play here: whether anti-gay student groups can force public universities to subsidize their discriminatory behavior. The answer today is the same one the Supreme Court gave in 2010: Absolutely not.

In a recent interview, Stephanie Perkins, Deputy Director of PROMO, summed up what’s at stake.

“Religious freedom is a fundamental part of Missouri, and we value our religious beliefs,” said Stephanie Perkins, Deputy Director of PROMO, Missouri’s statewide LGBT advocacy organization. ”But those beliefs don’t allow us to discriminate against others in a student group.”
“Freedom means for everyone, and no student should be turned away from opportunities to succeed and expand their university experience on campus just because of who they are,” said Perkins.

It's pretty simple, really.