The South Carolina Senate could step in to prevent savage cuts to two universities who stocked ‘gay-themed’ reading material.

The House of Representatives passed the $70,000 (£42,000) in cuts to the University of South Carolina Upstate and College of Charleston in February.

They were proposed by Republican Garry Smith, who raised concerns about two ‘gay-themed’ books at the institutions, Alison Bechdel’s autobiography ‘Fun Home’, and radio textbook ‘Out Loud: The Best of Rainbow Radio’.

The House last month rejected three amendments attempting to remove the cuts from the state budget bill.

However, the budget will this week head to the Senate Finance Committee, who may opt to restore the funding.

Senate President Pro Tempore John Courson said it wasn’t up to the government to ‘micromanage’ what the institutions did.

He told the Sacramento Bee: “I think that should be up to the presidents of the institution and the board of trustees which the General Assembly elects.”

The American Civil Liberties Union is also pushing the senate to reverse the cuts.

ALCU chapter director Victoria Middleton said: “Politicians should not be censoring college reading assignments.

“It’s bad for academic freedom. It’s bad for the free play of ideas in our democracy.

“Students should be able to learn all different points of view and perspective.”

Last week, the off-Broadway musical based on ‘Fun Home’ staged a one-off performance at the College of Charleston.