Wednesday, July 7, 2010

MLP General Assembly Legislative Summary, July 7

The Board of Pensions, Foundation, and Presbyterian Publishing Committee was called back today because of a contradictory vote between Overtures 18-06 and 18-01. Both Overtures directed the Board of Pensions to Extend Benefits to Same-Gender Spouses and Domestic Partners. The committee action today was to approve an alternate pro-LGBT resolution with comment by 39 to 6. Here is the text of the alternate resolution with comment:
Alternate Resolution: That the 219th General Assembly (2010): 1. Urge the Board of Pensions to adopt amendments to the Benefits Plan to extend eligibility for spousal and dependent benefits under the Plan to Benefits Plan members, their same-gender domestic partners, and the children of their same-gender domestic partners, on the same basis as, and equivalent to, benefits made available to Benefits Plan members, their spouses, and the children of their spouses. 2. Approve an increase in dues for the Benefits Plan of up to 1 percent, effective January 1, 2012, to be allocated among the plans of the Board of Pensions, including but not limited to the Pension Plan, as the Board, in its sole discretion, deems necessary to fund the cost of the additional benefits. Should the Board not implement these benefits for any reason, approval of the increase in dues is rescinded. Comment: That the Board of Pensions be highly urged to provide relief of conscience, to be implemented simultaneously with these actions, for those congregations for whom these actions cause a moral dilemma. (Action on Comment was separate: 39 affirmative; 6 negative; 0 abstention)
The General Assembly Special Committee on the Heidelberg Catechism's Overture 16-11 passed in the General Assembly by voice vote. It recommends that the General Assembly appoint the present committee to present a new translation of the Heidelberg Catechism to the 220th General Assembly. For more information on the significance of this Overture, read MLP's paper on Restoring the Heidelberg Catechism or the FAQs.

Overture 16-12 from the Special Committee on the Belhar Confession recommending its inclusion of the The Book of Confessions passed in the General Assembly by 525 to 150 with 3 abstentions. The confession is the South African churches' response to apartheid and it addresses racial justice and reconciliation. Overture 16-01 sought to end the process on the Belhar Confession entering the Book of Confessions because it was thought to champion liberation theology and press other issues such as full equality for LGBT persons.

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