Ricky Roberts, an LGBT activist in Athens, Ga., and employee of the University of Georgia, is calling on local and state LGBT rights advocates to sign a petition calling for the university to offer domestic partner benefits to its gay and lesbian employees.
UGA began offering “soft” benefits to gay and lesbian employees back in May but fell short of offering many of the benefits, like health insurance, that advocates hoped.
Since then, a new school president has taken the helm at UGA and is not in favor of expanding domestic partner benefits, according to Roberts.
The University of Georgia will begin to offer some "soft" benefits to employees' domestic partners, but the plan falls far short of what LGBT staff and allies requested.
School officials announced today that the university will offer employees the option to buy benefits like dental and vision insurance for their domestic partners, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
These benefits are paid for by the employees and have been in place at several other state universities for years. LGBT staff at UGA had requested full benefits, including health insurance, and had suggested options for paying for the benefits if no state funds could be used.
Last year, Pulitzer-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas visited the University of Georgia in Athens to discuss immigration reform with students.
His talk came on the heels of Georgia legislature’s passage of a controversial immigration law that included alleged racial profiling and the “show me your papers” provision.
At UGA, Vargas said he had a conversation with a student that has stuck with him as one of the most memorable he’s ever had.
“This young man raised his hand and identified himself as a young Republican. We had a really great exchange and toward the end I asked him where he was from. He said, ‘What do you mean? I’m American.’ I asked him again, though, where he was from. He goes, ‘I’m white.’ But white is not a place. I asked him again where he was from and he didn’t know,” Vargas said.