Benefits for same-sex couples in UM System has local support

Jun 18, 2013

columns at university of missouri
Credit File Photo / KBIA

University of Missouri system’s Board of Curators recently voted to expand employee’s insurance coverage to unmarried couples including partners of the same sex. Members of the LGBT community and University officials are talking about the change.

Harry Tyrer is a professor and faculty council member at MU. Tyrer says this benefit change will keep the MU system competitive in recruiting and retaining staff members.

“It’s more inclusive and it will increase the number of people who will see the University of Missouri as a great place to work at,” Tryer says.

Tyrer says some staff members have left in recent years to work at other institutions where these benefits were already included. Back in 2005, the American Association of University Professors reported more than 300 universities and colleges already offered some kind of domestic partner benefits.

Katie Kiefer is the Communications Organizer at PROMO, Missouri’s statewide organization advocating for LGBT equality. She says both the employer and the employee will be rewarded from this change.

“When you’re looking at different companies to work for and you see in their nondiscrimination policy they include sexual orientation and gender identity, I think it will fall along the lines that they see that the University System already has that and this is just an added benefit,” Kiefer says.

Kiefer says PROMO had been advocating for a change like this for quite a while and it is something to be celebrated. The Board of Curators had previously suspended the idea of a benefit change due to a lack of funding.  The domestic partner benefit will go into effect in 2014.