Senators debating punishing colleges for books

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Senators are debating whether to punish two South Carolina universities for assigning gay-themed books to freshmen.

The Senate refused twice Wednesday to kill the amendment. Debate will continue Thursday.

Democratic Sen. Brad Hutto says the votes mean a bunch of old guys are offended by homosexuality.

The proposal copies the House's plan to cut $17,142 from the University of South Carolina Upstate and $52,000 from the College of Charleston for their book selections. Supporters call the book "Fun Home" assigned in Charleston pornographic.

Majority Leader Harvey Peeler says the amounts are minuscule but send an important message.

Senate President Pro Tem John Courson argued any further cut is too much following years of dwindling financial support to public colleges. He also says the Legislature shouldn't micromanage or censor universities' curriculum.

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