The South Carolina legislature has rankled liberal groups after requiring that a pair of public schools use state funds to teach the U.S. Constitution and other founding documents — on the heels of a budget fight over gay-themed books in the curriculum.
State House lawmakers previously had cut funds from two public universities in retaliation for required-reading material containing homosexual themes. A revised budget passed by both the House and the Senate earlier this month, though, restored the money — but dictated that exact amount be spent “for instruction in the provisions and principles of the United States Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Federalist Papers, including the study of and devotion to American institutions and ideals.”
The bill restored at least $52,000 for the College of Charleston, and at least $17,000 for USC-Upstate, which were the original amounts cut back in March. The legislation also says that any school that conducts a mandatory reading program must provide an alternative in case the chosen book conflicts with any students’ moral or religious beliefs.
Gov. Nikki Haley went along with the Constitution requirement on Thursday, saying she did not agree with it but kept it in because lawmakers spent so much time on the bill. She said her office “didn’t want to interject ourselves into that.”
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