Federal Government Refuses to Defend Defense of Marriage Act - Now What?

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The federal government is no longer defending the constitutionality of Section 3 of the Federal Defense of Marriage Act, which declares that under federal law, the word "marriage" means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife. A press release was issued by the attorney general to explain the change in position.

On February 23, 2011, United States Attorney General Eric Holder issued a press release indicating that the federal government will no longer defend the constitutionality of Section 3 of the Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Section 3 of DOMA provides that for all purposes under federal law, the word “marriage” means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word “spouse” refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or wife. Although the president had previously opposed DOMA and supported its repeal, the administration had defended it in court on several previous occasions. As a result, part of the Department of Justice’s press release was to explain the change in position.

This press release has already received a significant amount of attention and national press, but what does it mean for employers and employee benefit plans?

Please see full article below for more information.

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