published Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Fowler urges religious conservatives to oppose Haslam’s planned veto on Vanderbilt bill

NASHVILLE — A politically influential conservative group is urging supporters to flood Gov. Bill Haslam’s phone lines in opposition to Haslam’s planned veto of a bill aimed at pressuring Vanderbilt University to drop an anti-discrimination policy affecting campus groups.

The “all-comers” policy requires student groups at the prestigious private university to let any interested students join and run for office. Several religious organizations have waged a high-profile battle to overturn it.

Family Action Council of Tennessee President David Fowler, a former Republican state senator who represented part of Hamilton County, made the appeal through an email alert today.

“I was informed that, as of right now, the Governor is planning to veto the bill protecting the religious liberty of college campus ministries such as the F.C.A, Navigators, Cru (aka Campus Crusade) and the Christian Legal Society,” Fowler wrote.

“Please call the Governor’s office now ... and tell the person [who] answers the phone, ‘Please let the governor know that I am against vetoing the bill protecting campus ministries,’” he said.

Vanderbilt is a private, nationally recognized university in Nashville.

Haslam released a statement today emphasizing that while “I don’t agree with Vanderbilt’s ‘all-comers’ policy,” as someone “who believes strongly in limited government, I think it is inappropriate for government to mandate the policies of a private institution. Therefore I will veto” the bill.

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