Same-Sex Spouses—What Does This Mean for Employers?
On June 26, 2013, in United States v. Windsor, the United States Supreme Court found unconstitutional Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”). Section 3 of DOMA prohibited the federal government from acknowledging marriages between same-sex spouses. Following Windsor, the federal government may no longer distinguish between same-sex and opposite-sex marriages; however, Windsor does not require individual states to acknowledge same-sex marriage and states presently appear free to define marriage as they wish. At the time of the Windsor ruling, twelve states and the District of Columbia recognized same-sex marriages. Because the definition of “spouse” and “marriage” impact a variety of human resource issues, including, FMLA obligations, COBRA continuation coverage, consents to beneficiary designations in 401(k) plans, and other employee benefit plan coverage issues, the Windsor ruling left many unanswered questions for employers. Continue reading “Same-Sex Spouses—What Does This Mean for Employers?”