Board approves resolution on change to partner benefits in 2017

December 19, 2015  


WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Purdue University Board of Trustees on Saturday (Dec. 19) approved a resolution to discontinue benefits to same-sex domestic partners of university employees in 2017 to align with this year's U.S. Supreme Court ruling that gives same-sex couples the right to marry in all 50 states.

Since 2002 Purdue has offered employee benefits to same-sex domestic partners, including medical insurance, tuition fee remissions, dependent life insurance, personal accident insurance, and access to university programs, services and facilities. Purdue offered the coverage to ensure equity for same-sex couples, who, at that time, did not have legal access to marriage and marriage-related benefits, said Trent Klingerman, Purdue's vice president for human resources.

The June 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision making same-sex marriage legal nationwide means that married same-sex couples have access to the same benefits married heterosexual couples have received.

"In analyzing this changing legal landscape, we realized that we now had another issue of equity to consider," Klingerman said. "We recognized that we could no longer continue to offer benefits programs to eligible same-sex domestic partners while not providing those same benefits to opposite-sex domestic partners. To do so would create an unequal and potentially discriminatory environment."

Several peer institutions, including Indiana University, University of Minnesota and Penn State University, have already taken a similar course of action on same-sex domestic partner benefits.

Purdue will offer benefits to same-sex domestic partners through Dec. 31, 2016, to allow time for the transition.

The board also approved a one-year, $2.9 million contract with Delta Dental Plan of Indiana Inc. to provide preventive dental coverage to benefits-eligible employees and dependents who are on a Purdue medical plan. The preventive dental coverage begins Jan. 1. 

Writer: Valerie O'Brien, 765-494-9573 vobrien@purdue.edu 

Sources: Trent Klingerman, 765-496-6846, klingert@purdue.edu

Eva Nodine, director of benefits in Human Resources, 765-496-1967, enodine@purdue.edu 

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