GOSHEN, Ind. (AP) — A Mennonite college in northern Indiana will hire people in same-sex relationships and expand benefits to include employees in gay marriages, its governing board announced Monday.
The changes came after the board of directors of Goshen College updated the school's non-discrimination policy to include sexual orientation and gender identity under its list of protections.
The college could previously hire gay people, but those employees were expected to remain celibate, The Elkhart Truth reported (http://bit.ly/1JbXoHa ).
"After a multi-year review of our current hiring practices, offering prayers for divine guidance, listening to and consulting various constituencies and key stakeholders and considering relevant legal changes, we voted to update the institutional non-discrimination policy," board chair Conrad Clemens said in a news release.
The changes, which the school said were focused on hiring the best people who allow the college to live out its core values and mission, come in the wake of the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision making same-sex marriage legal nationwide.
The board met Friday and Saturday.
The board adopted the policy after consulting with the Mennonite Education Agency Board of Directors, which serves as an intermediary between Mennonite schools and the Mennonite Church USA.
College President James Brenneman said the school remains rooted in the Anabaptist tradition and maintains a strong relationship with Mennonite Church USA.
The school recognizes "the diversity of interpretation of Scripture on this issue within our denomination and the broader Christian church, a diversity reflected within the board of directors and on our campus as well," Brenneman said in the news release.
The school said the directors have been considering the expanded non-discrimination policy over the past several years. It said rulings by the Supreme Court were part of the board's considerations, but "they were not the impetus for this shift in institutional policy."