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Supreme Court Takes Up Federal Right to Same-Sex Marriage

From the former capital of the Confederacy in Richmond, Virginia, comes the spark for a Supreme Court decision that could extend same-sex marriage to all fifty states within a year. On August 20, 2014, the Supreme...more

The Expanding Ash Heap of History

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the historic United States Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. The court overturned the precedent established in Plessy v. Ferguson, which upheld that...more

To Have and to Hold: Modern Family Formation and Application of Constitutional Principles

Recall the year 1868 and §1 of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution: “All persons born and naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and...more

New Jersey Naming Law: Can I Name My Child Anything I Want?

The choice of what to name your child is often a process that parents take great care in selecting—conducting countless Internet searches, pouring over “baby name” books, and researching family histories to find the perfect...more

State Tax Implications of Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Decision Rejecting Virginia’s Same-Sex Marriage Ban

On Monday, the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit invalidated Virginia’s prohibition on same-sex marriages. Bostic v. Schaefer, Docket No. 14-1167 (4th Cir. July 28, 2014). The Fourth Circuit includes Virginia, Maryland,...more

California Legislative Update: July 2014

Governor Jerry Brown recently signed into law a number of bills that will impact the employer community. A brief summary of these new laws, along with links to the bills, can be found below....more

DOL Proposes Rulemaking to Amend Definition of "Spouse" for FMLA

In 2013, the United States Supreme Court held, in U.S. v. Windsor, that the Defense of Marriage Act's limitation of "marriage" and "spouse" to heterosexual couples was unconstitutional. Thereafter, President Obama instructed...more

DOL Issues Notice of Proposed FMLA Rule that Offers Equal Leave Rights to Same-Sex Spouses

On June 20, 2014, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking regarding the definition of “spouse” under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). If adopted, employees in same-sex marriages...more

Same-Sex Marriage Recognized as Valid in Non-Recognition State for Purposes of Interpreting the Bankruptcy Code

As a result of two Federal trial court decisions issued May 19, 2014 and May 20, 2014, Oregon and Pennsylvania became the 18th and 19th states where gay and lesbian couples can legally marry. In these decisions, U.S....more

Washington State Same-Sex Registered Domestic Partnerships Automatically Convert to Lawful Marriages on June 30, 2014

On June 30, 2014, same-sex domestic partnerships registered with the Washington Secretary of State will automatically convert to lawful marriages, unless one of the partners is age 62 or older, or the domestic partners have...more

DOL Proposes Change to FMLA Definition of Spouse to Accommodate Same-Sex Marriage

As was expected, the U.S. Department of Labor has issued a proposed regulation changing the definition of “spouse” for FMLA purposes in order to protect the FMLA rights of employees with same-sex spouses. The proposed...more

Ripples of Windsor: DOL Seeking to Expand the FMLA’s Definition of “Spouse”

Last June, the Supreme Court of the United States struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”) as unconstitutional in United States v. Windsor, 570 U.S. 12 (2013). The Supremes ruled that section 3 of DOMA...more

DOMA, One Year After Marriage Ruling

It hardly seems like it's been an entire year since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a huge portion of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which precluded the federal government from recognizing the legally valid...more

Lift of Prohibition on Same-Sex Marriages in Pennsylvania Provides New Estate Planning Opportunities

On May 20, 2014, in the case of Whitewood v. Wolf, Judge John E. Jones III of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania struck down Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriages. Like many of the rulings...more

What Marriage Equality Means for Your Employee Benefits

A frequent headline in the news as of late has been “Federal Judge in State X finds same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional” and then shortly thereafter “Hundreds of couples marry in State X” complete with a picture of a...more

Exclusion of Coverage for Same-Sex Spouses Did Not Interfere with Protected Rights under ERISA

In Roe v. Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, a federal district court addressed the issue of whether a self-funded health plan could include language that denied dependent coverage to same-sex spouses without violating Section...more

Reproductive Medicine

According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine In 2010, 61,000 babies were born through assisted reproductive technology; a few State higher courts have addressed what happens to the frozen embryos once a couple...more

Whitewood v. Wolf Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage in Pennsylvania

In a decision handed down on May 20th, Federal District Judge John E. Jones III struck down Pennsylvania's ban on same-sex marriage, concluding that "all couples deserve equal dignity in the realm of civil marriage."...more

Pa. Same-Sex Marriage Ban Overturned: What Now for Municipal Employers?

U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III recently nullified the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriages. Because Governor Tom Corbett announced that he will not appeal the decision in Whitewood v. Wolf, the...more

Marriage Equality: Federal Judge Strikes Down Same-Sex Marriage Ban In Pennsylvania

The movement for marriage equality made significant headway in Pennsylvania this week, when the Honorable John E. Jones, issued an opinion striking down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage for constitutional reasons. The...more

U.S. Judge Strikes Down Same-Sex Marriage Ban in Pennsylvania

Today, a U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania nullified Pennsylvania’s Marriage Laws, holding that they violate the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. If the ruling stands...more

Federal Judge Strikes Down Pennsylvania Same-Sex Marriage Ban

Earlier today, Harrisburg-based Federal District Court Judge John E. Jones, III, struck down Pennsylvania's ban on same-sex marriage. In this landmark ruling, Jones concluded that "same-sex couples who seek to marry in...more

ERISA: Self-Funded Benefit Plans May Not Have To Cover Same-Sex Spouses?

You already know that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which prohibited recognition of same-sex marriages, was declared unconstitutional. United States v. Windsor, 133 S.Ct. 2675 (2013)....more

Whitewood v. Wolf: Navigating the Sea of Change for Marriage Equality

It has been a momentous year for marriage equality in our country. The U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark June 2013 decisions overturning the Defense of Marriage Act and upholding the ruling on Proposition 8’s unconstitutionality...more

Federal Ruling Keeps Ohio’s Ban on Same-Sex Marriage In Play For Now

State and federal courts have ping-ponged the issue of state same-sex marriage bans in recent months. As an Ohio appeals attorney can explain, Ohio’s ban on same-sex marriage will stay in effect at least for the time being....more

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