University of Georgia ArchRep. John Barrow passed on the opportunity Friday to substantively comment on an effort underway at the University of Georgia to extend health benefits to the domestic partners of school faculty and staff.

The university’s executive committee voted unanimously Thursday to send a proposal to the full council that would award benefits equitably to the spouses of all employees.

Barrow, a centrist Democrat who previously voted for an amendment to the federal constitution limiting marriage to opposite-sex partners, merely said he hoped school administrators consulted with students before tentatively greenlighting the proposed measure.

“I hope the Council solicited the input of students before coming to the decision,” Barrow, a graduate of UGA, told Tipsheet Friday morning.

Lest an embrace of the benefits proposal be interpreted by social conservative voters in his district as a softening of his position on gay marriage, which remains broadly unpopular in the region, Barrow specifically reaffirmed his religious convictions on the sensitive issue.

“I believe that marriage is a union between a man and a woman,” he said. “However, under the 10th amendment to the Constitution, it’s up to the states to decide whether to extend equal benefits as a form of equal pay.”

– James Richardson