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VA Senate Passes College Club Bill E-mail
Written by Don Byrd   
Tuesday, 05 February 2013

The Virginia State Senate passed a bill 22-18 that allows college groups to discriminate in membership. 

Sen. Mark Obenshain’s bill says that any “religious or political student organization” may run its internal affairs, determine its doctrines and choose its leaders and members, and can decided that “only persons committed to that mission should conduct such activities.” The bill also says colleges and universities can’t stop such groups from doing so.

In plain language, that means that, for example, a Baptist student group could decide to admit only Baptists.

The question of discrimination in such a setting is tricky. Do we want public funds to be used to restrict access to a student organization on the basis of religious belief? Generally no... but don't we want a religious organization to be able to run an organization under the rules it sees fit?

The Supreme Court has ruled that a public university is not required to allow such discrimination in the name of religious freedom, but may it? And if it may, should it? Those are different questions.

You can read VA Senate Bill 1074 here.

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