On June 26, 2013, in U.S. v. Windsor, the US Supreme Court held the federal Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”) unconstitutional as a violation of the right to liberty found in the due process clause of the 5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
DOMA was enacted by Congress in 1996. Section 3 of DOMA provides that for purposes of any federal law “marriage” means a legal union between one man and one woman, and “spouse” refers only to a person of the opposite-sex who is a husband or wife. In essence, DOMA prohibited federal law from recognizing same sex marriages, even if permissible under state law. Currently 13 states (including California as a result of another Supreme Court ruling on the same day as Windsor) and the District of Columbia license same-sex marriages.
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Topics: COBRA, Due Process, Employee Benefits, Equal Protection, Health Insurance, HIPAA, Income Taxes, Retirement Plan, Same-Sex Marriage, SCOTUS, US v Windsor
Published In: Civil Rights Updates, Constitutional Law Updates, Family Law Updates, Labor & Employment Updates, Tax Updates