November 24, 2015

Senate committee restores funding to colleges over LGBT literature

Image: SCETV

The Senate Finance Committee votes against the cuts during its Wednesday meeting

State senators on Wednesday took controversial language out of the state budget that would have docked a combined $69,000 from two colleges over LGBT-themed literature.

The Senate Finance Committee voted 11-7 to reject cutting $52,000 for the College of Charleston and a little over $17,000 from USC-Upstate. House Republicans had pushed for the cuts as part of the proposed state budget in March. The votes came after social conservatives targeted both schools for requiring freshmen to read gay-themed literature. But a Senate subcommittee had restored the funding.

College of Charleston had required freshmen to read “Fun Home,” a graphic novel by Alison Bechdel about her life growing up as a lesbian with an abusive closeted homosexual father. University of South Carolina-Upstate had required students to read “Out Loud,” a nonfiction book about South Carolina’s first gay and lesbian radio station.

Wednesday’s vote came with no debate, as Senate Majority Leader Harvey Peeler requested a vote on the House language. Four Republicans joined all of the committee’s Democrats to reject the cuts.

The issue will likely resurface next week as the full Senate debates the budget. The House could also still vote to restore the cuts when it reviews Senate changes later this year, sending the debate to a conference committee.

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