A far cry from the “no homo” pledge at Christian-based Shorter University, Georgia’s Baptist-founded Mercer University seeks to “affirm the value and dignity of all faculty and staff" by extending benefits to partners of its gay employees. Mercer’s chief of staff tells the Macon Telegraph that gay partners’ insurance benefits, tuition breaks and access to campus facilities not only keep the Macon-seated school competitive with other private colleges like the super gay-friendly Emory, it also is in keeping with the school’s gay-inclusive non-discrimination policy.
The move follows a months-long process that started in the spring, when a committee of faculty and staff members looked at similar policies at other universities and considered the legal, financial and ethical implications of doing so, according to Larry Brumley, Mercer’s chief of staff.Brumley also tells the Telegraph that while some alumni might disagree, domestic partnership benefits are clearly “the right thing for us to do.” "Certainly there are members of Baptist churches who would not agree with this policy," Brumley tells WMAZ, "but this policy really is in keeping with our core values." Take that, Shorter University. Mercer’s policy change was signed by its president on Oct. 28 and went into effect immediately on all of its campuses, including Macon, Atlanta and Savannah.