I must admit some disquiet and surprise when I read that Governor Haslam intends to veto a bill for religious liberty for college students in Tennessee.
The attempt by Vanderbilt University to tell the Catholic group on campus that they must allow any student to be eligible to hold office got national attention. Catholic students – and other students – were alarmed that the University’s directive would mean that a student directly opposed to their group’s purpose could be allowed to be in charge of it.
Senate Bill 3597, which ensured that Tennessee’s public colleges and universities could not discriminate against religious student group, passed the legislature by a combined vote of 80 to 37. The Family Action Council of Tennessee said it “also tries to temporarily protect the status quo at Vanderbilt, the recipient of millions in state funds, by giving it the option over the next year of (i) continuing to recognize Christian organizations, or (ii) applying its “all comers policy” to all student organizations, including fraternities and sororities, rather than engaging in its current selective discrimination policy.”
So why did Gov. Haslam announce on Wednesday that he intends to veto it? Reportedly, calls are still pouring into his office in support of the bill.