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Virginia Senate Passes Bill On College Club Membership

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The Virginia Senate has passed legislation that would allow religious or political organizations at public colleges to restrict membership to people who agree with their mission. Under the bill, colleges would be prohibited from denying recognition to such groups.

Opponents say the legislation essentially sanctions discrimination by taxpayer-funded groups. State Sen. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath County) believes it goes against a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that upheld a California law school's refusal to recognize a religious organization that excluded gay students.

Republican Sen. Mark Obenshain of Harrisonburg, who supports the bill calls it a "freedom of association bill," according to the Associated Press. Obenshain said it's about allowing religious groups to limit membership to people of the same faith. The vote was 21-18. A similar bill sponsored by Obenshain previously passed the Senate and is pending in the House.

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