Va. Senate Republicans Vote to Allow Student Groups to Discriminate at Public Colleges

RICHMOND, VA — Today, Virginia Senate Republicans voted to allow student groups to discriminate. On a vote of 21 to 18, Republicans passed HB 1617, which prohibits colleges from banning discrimination in student organizations. Under HB 1617, college clubs can deny membership to students of a certain religion or sexual orientation.

Senator John S. Edwards (D-Roanoke) said, "Virginia's public colleges should not be prevented from enforcing their anti-discrimination policies with regard to campus groups using public funds. This is what the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled. This bill is unconstitutional."

Senator Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) said, "I am deeply disappointed that my Republican colleagues voted to allow discrimination on college campuses. Under this bill, student groups benefiting from our taxpayer dollars can deny membership to students for any reason, from religion to sexual orientation. HB 1617 takes away colleges' right not to pay for discriminatory student behavior."

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