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November 4, 2002

LGBT questions new human resources benefit

By Eric Rangus

Concerns over a new benefit that is not offered to same-sex domestic partners of employees dominated discussion at the latest LGBT commission meeting, Oct. 22 in 400 Administration.

In 2003, Emory is offering a new long-term care policy for regular Emory employees who work at least 20 hours a week and their family members between the ages of 18 and 80. The policy, however, is not open to same-sex domestic partners (who are eligible for other types of University-provided benefits) because of state regulations.

Several commission members questioned whether Georgia has such a regulation. One exists, but after conversations between commission representatives, Unum-Provident (the provider) and Human Resources on Oct. 30, it was agreed that same-sex domestic partners would be eligible for long-term care with the same requirements that are necessary of employee spouses, parents, in-laws and the like. Same-sex domestic partners also are eligible for life insurance and personal accident insurance. Communication between the commission and HR about other benefits issues for same-sex domestic partners will continue.

In officer elections, Jeff Martin, manager of meeting services in the Dobbs Center, was chosen as chair-elect; Bill Thompson from Facilities Management was picked to be treasurer; and it was decided that the office of secretary would rotate to a new member each month.

Thompson also volunteered to serve as commission liaison to Employee Council. Student representative Julius Jessup agreed to serve as liaison to the President’s Commission on the Status of Minorities. The representative to the President’s Commission on the Status of Women has yet to be filled.

In other business, the commission voted to fund several activities; one was travel for representatives to an LGBT student conference in Portland, Ore. Two scholarships were funded for a diversity workshop that was held on campus Nov. 1–3. Money (along with cosponsorship) was given to a pair of campus events: the colloquium “Homoeroticism in Modern Hebrew Literature, 1880–2000” and an Emory Pride forum on homophobia in the African American community and racism in the gay community.

The next LGBT commission meeting will be held Nov. 19 in 400 Administration.

If you have a question or comment for LGBT, send e-mail to Kathy McKee at