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Alabama’s New “I Do”: Same-Sex Marriage, the FMLA, and Employee Benefit Considerations

Alabama probate judges began issuing marriage licenses and presiding over ceremonies for same-sex couples a few days ago. The landmark occasion follows a recent ruling out of the Southern District of Alabama that struck down...more

Supreme Court to Review Same-Sex Marriage Cases

The Supreme Court of the United States announced on January 16, 2015, that it would review four cases challenging the constitutionality of state laws banning same-sex marriage in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee. The...more

What's Work Got to Do With It? The U.S. Supreme Court's Review of State Same-Sex Marriage Bans May Affect Employers

It was announced on January 16th that the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in four same-sex marriage cases in April, potentially settling the contentious issue by the end of the term. Specifically, the justices...more

Supreme Court Decision on Same-Sex Marriage Expected this Summer

The U.S. Supreme Court recently announced it will rule on the legality of same-sex marriage and issue what is expected to be a historic decision with a widespread impact on American culture. Consolidating appeals from four...more

Did You Know…SCOTUS Will Decide Gay Marriage Issue Once and For All

It was bound to happen.  Sooner or later the U.S. Supreme Court would be put to the task of deciding whether a married couple from California are still married while visiting Elvis’ ghost at Graceland, in Tennessee....more

BREAKING: Supreme Court Will Review States’ Right To Ban Same-Sex Marriage

The Supreme Court decided today to review the right of states to ban same-sex marriage. The Court granted certiorari in four cases, all from the Sixth Circuit (Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee), whose U.S. Court of...more

In Florida, Recognition of Same-Sex Marriage Will Impact Employers

On January 6, Florida became the 36th state to recognize same-sex marriage. This development came as the result of several recent state and federal court decisions finding Florida's ban on same-sex marriage an...more

Sixth Circuit Creates Circuit Split on Same-Sex Marriage; Tees Up Issue for Possible Supreme Court Review

Yesterday afternoon, in DeBoer v. Snyder, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an eagerly-awaited opinion, upholding laws in Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan, and Tennessee banning same-sex marriage. The court held that laws...more

Will SCOTUS Review Same-Sex Marriage Now?

You may recall that in early October the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review decisions from U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Fourth, Seventh, and Tenth circuits* that struck down same-sex marriage bans....more

Impact of Supreme Court’s Recent Actions on Employee Benefits

Did the Supreme Court legalize same-sex marriage? On October 6, 2014, the Supreme Court of the United States denied review of seven petitions challenging federal court of appeal rulings in the Fourth, Seventh, and...more

Supreme Court Passively Clears the Way for Same-Sex Marriage

On October 6, 2014, the Supreme Court of the United States declined to review all seven same-sex marriage cases with petitions for certiorari pending before it. The Court’s refusal to hear the appeals means that the lower...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

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

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

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

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

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

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