CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - The Southeast Missouri State University Board of Regents extended university benefits to same-sex spouses of employees or retirees on Tuesday, Oct. 28. It is effective immediately.
Kathy Mangels, vice president for finance and administration, said this action follows a Jackson County Circuit Court judge's order on Oct. 3 requiring same-sex couples who were legally married in another state to be recognized by the state of Missouri.
The Missouri Attorney General's Office announced on Oct. 6 the state of Missouri would not appeal the judgement. Since then, the state of Missouri's main healthcare and retirement plans have expanded benefits to same-sex spouses with a valid marriage certificate.
Southeast will follow the action of Missouri's benefit plans for state employees and expand the definition of "spouse" under their benefit plans to include same-sex spouses of employees and retirees, Mangels said.
The Board's action on Tuesday is considered a qualifying event under the university's benefit plans, allowing enrollment to begin immediately.
Also, the definition of "spouse" in the procedures of the University's Business Policies and Procedures Manual will be updated, Mangels said.
"Spouse" will be defined as "a legally married spouse, as evidenced by a valid marriage certificate."
It is estimated that the cost to Southeast in implementing this change will be minimal.
The university currently supplements spouse health insurance premiums by $125 per month and offers a 50 percent reduction on the cost of undergraduate courses taken by a spouse.