Jere Morehead isn't off to an auspicious start for Athens progressives. The new University of Georgia won't pursue efforts to extend health coverage to gay and lesbian (and unmarried straight) UGA employees' domestic partners.
University System Chancellor Hank Huckaby gave former president Michael Adams the go-ahead on soft benefits for domestic partners in May and said UGA could offer subsidized health insurance as well—as long as funding didn't come from state coffers.
Advocates approached the UGA Foundation for help, but it turned them down last month.
Morehead told 1340 AM talk show hosts Martha Zoller and Tim Bryant this morning that UGA has pushed the issue as far as it can:
“(C)andidly, with the restrictions that the state has on its health insurance plans, I think we’ve gone about as far as we can go on that issue here at the University of Georgia. I don’t see a path readily available for the institution to pursue that matter here….
“The Regents and the Legislature – they’re all well aware of the university’s position on this matter. We’ve made it clear that from a market-competitiveness standpoint, what we had proposed to do. But the state’s rules are the state’s rules.
“We don’t have a source of funding that’s entirely private, that’s not supported by state benefits or state employees. So I think this issue’s back in the arena of the Board of Regents and the state of Georgia.”
We'll see what Janet Frick has to say about this.