ROME, Ga. (CBS Atlanta) — A Georgia college says all its employees must renounce homosexuality or face termination.
The new “Personal Lifestyle Statement” from Shorter University in Rome will not only ban homosexual activity but also drinking alcohol in the presence of students off campus or in public places where students could be.
The university’s president Donald Lawless told CBS Atlanta that the statement is a “positive affirmation of who we are,” instead of a statement on who the university doesn’t want on their staff.
The requirement reads, “I reject as acceptable all sexual activity not in agreement with the Bible, including, but not limited to, premarital sex, adultery and homosexuality.” The requirement also says that “Shorter University will hire persons who are committed, Bible-believing Christians.”
Signing the contract, he said, is “a matter of conscience.” In failures of conscience, there will be discipline action with the possibility of termination.
Georgia law protects against workplace discrimination applying to race, gender, color, national origin and disability, but includes no protection for sexual orientation as some states do.
Michael Cole-Schwartz, a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign, called it “unfortunate” that Georgia is one of 29 states that can fire an individual based on sexual orientation.
While he called the practice antithetical to American values, he said exemptions based on an organization’s religious practice and purpose are fair.
State Rep. Karla Drenner, whose bill would add sexual orientation as a protected class among state employees, said Baptist and Catholic groups have consistently slowed or killed legislation related to homosexual people’s causes.
She said, however, that the pendulum is starting to swing the other way.