Supreme Court Oral Arguments on DOMA, Proposition 8: Potential Employee Benefit Plan Implications

On March 26 and 27, 2013, the Supreme Court of the United States heard oral arguments in cases challenging the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California’s Proposition 8. A Supreme Court ruling in either case may have significant implications for employee benefit plans given the many federally mandated spousal benefits that currently do not extend to same-sex spouses in light of DOMA.

Background on DOMA -

DOMA is the controversial law at the center of national debate over the legalization of same-sex marriage. Congress enacted DOMA in 1996, before any state had legalized same-sex marriages, but at a time when a number of states seemed ready to do so through judicial or legislative means. DOMA was enacted primarily in response to concern that states opposed to legalizing same-sex marriages would be required to legally recognize such marriages performed in other states under the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the U.S. Constitution. DOMA has two key provisions...

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