Special Committee on Domestic Partner Benefits

March 9, 2011


At the March 5, 2011, meeting of the directors of the Board of Pensions, Special Committee on Domestic Partner Benefits Chair Frank James reported that the committee has met three times, will be conducting listening sessions at the Regional Benefits Consultations, and plans to make a progress report to the board at its October 2011 meeting.

He explained that the General Assembly’s action on Item 18-06 added a request that the board’s consideration of extending coverage to same-gender domestic partners include some form of relief of conscience to be implemented simultaneously.

“The committee’s discussions have convinced us that diligent consideration of the many issues presented will take more time than initially planned,” James advised.

The committee does not currently anticipate that any formal board action will take place before March 2012 and the board will report to the 220th General Assembly (2012).

If the board acts to extend coverage in response to the overture, any dues increase arising from that decision would not be effective until on or after January 1, 2013.

  1. My partner [and spouse, as we lived in Connecticut], died in 2007 after 49 years of service to the Presbyterian Church, 17 of them as a pastor in the East Harlem Protestant Parish. When she died, the first communication from the denomination was to ask that the check for the month in which she died be returned immediately. Of course I returned the $225, but thought perhaps a note of condolence might have been offered. Extending medical benefits to partners seems like a step in the right direction.

    by Shannon Clarkson

    March 28, 2011

  2. Will, The Board of Pensions is an independent institution. Whatever your impressions at the GA, that body does not have the authority to send "directives" to the BoP. They sent a request for consideration by the BoP directors. That is all that they can do. The BoP will then follow it's own process and make its own decision.

    by Gary Chorpenning

    March 18, 2011

  3. The last sentence is pretty clear: "...dues increase arising from that decision..." Potential for number of congregations rebelling is significant since we're all required to fund a full compensation package for called pastors.

    by Dana Gilmour

    March 12, 2011

  4. I don't get this. I was at GA, and I witnessed the highest representative body of the church send a directive to the Board of Pensions - this was not a request, or opening a conversation. Why won't this elective body be ready to fulfill its duty? Our Board of Pensions is just and fair beyond every other pension board I have heard of, so why are they dragging their feet on this extension of equality for all of our church employees?

    by Rev. Will McGarvey

    March 12, 2011

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