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Are SC legislators harming state universities on behalf on anti-gay groups?

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“Based upon emails, blog posts, and statements from conservative figures in the state, it wouldn’t be far fetched to say that a plan to attack the College of Charleston and the University of South Carolina-Upstate via the legislature was in the works ever since last year after a failed attempt to generate an outcry over the books . 

Furthermore, based upon those same sources, this issue seems to be less about protecting students from obscenity and more about anger over the fact that gay-themed books were being assigned on university campuses.”

In my state of South Carolina, there is a serious controversy brewing with regards to the state legislature “penalizing” two colleges for assigning gay-theme books for students to read.

The new state budget deducts $70,000 collectively from the College of Charleston and the University of South Carolina-Upstate. The amount adds up to the how much the two colleges spent on the gay-themed books. Rep Garry Smith is leading the charge because he claims the books, Fun Home and Out Loud: The Best of Rainbow Radio doesn’t represent SC community values. Rep. Smith also made the accusation that the College of Charleston was pushing pornography on students.  He pointed to images in one of the books, Fun Home, as proof of  his charges.

The controversy has raised many questions with regards to academic freedom. Rep. Smith claimed that the universities are corrupting the ideas of academic freedom.

However, just where did Rep. Smith get the idea to go after these two colleges?

The answer may be remarkably simple.

Based upon emails, blog posts, and statements from conservative figures in the state, it wouldn’t be far fetched to say that a plan to attack the College of Charleston and the University of South Carolina-Upstate via the legislature was in the works ever since last year after a failed attempt to generate an outcry over the books.

Furthermore, based upon those same sources, this issue seems to be less about protecting students from obscenity and more about anger over the fact that gay-themed books were being assigned on university campuses.

Late last year, an organization by the name of the Palmetto Family Council began raising a fuss about the books. For the uninitiated, the Palmetto Family Council is yet another one of those so-called morality groups which operates under the guise of “protecting the dignity of the family.”

The only problem is that their definition of  “family” seems to only pertain to two-parent married heterosexual families. No single parent homes, and definitely no same-sex families allowed. And, like so many of these groups, their definition of protecting the family never seems to include debating issues such poverty, income inequality, educational inequality.

Rather, the Palmetto Family Council deals with issues regarding their definition of “Christian values” and how they pertain to the family, as if implying that the only families which do count in South Carolina are two-parent married heterosexual families who have the same personal religious beliefs that the organization does.

But back to the matter at hand.

In two posts on the organization’s blog from late 2013, the Palmetto Family Council railed away at College of Charleston for selecting Fun Home as a reading assignments for students. In the the first post, written on June 24, the Palmetto Family Council contrasts Fun Home to other books assigned by other state colleges and universities. And here is the interesting part. The organization doesn’t say one word about the so-called “pornography” of Fun Home. Instead, the Palmetto Family Council cites a publisher’s review of the book:

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