Defense of Marriage Act Supreme Court of the United States

The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is a United States federal statute enacted in 1996 which defines marriage as a union exclusively between a man and woman for the purposes of federal programs and benefits. In... more +
The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is a United States federal statute enacted in 1996 which defines marriage as a union exclusively between a man and woman for the purposes of federal programs and benefits. In addition, DOMA provides that individual states are not required to recognize marriages between gays and lesbians who are legally married in other states. less -
News & Analysis as of

OCR Issues Guidance on Application of HIPAA Privacy Rule after Windsor

The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional in United States v. Windsor prompted many businesses to review and revise their employee benefit plans. However, the...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

It’s All Over But the Shouting! What Do Employers Do Now That Gay Marriage Is Effectively Legal Everywhere?

By denying cert in seven cases covering five states, the Supreme Court effectively legalized gay marriage in most, if not all of the United States....more

OCR Issues Guidance Relating to Same-Sex Marriages

The Department of Health and Human Services' Office for Civil Rights recently published guidance to assist covered entities by explaining how the United States Supreme Court's decision regarding the Defense of Marriage Act...more

Business Associate Agreement September 22 Deadline; Same Sex Marriage Guidance Released

There are two important updates with respect to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). First, on September 17, 2014, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued guidance to...more

Update on Same-Sex Employee Benefits

In recent months employers around the country, have been scrambling to keep up with developments with respect to the evolving rights of employees in same-sex relationships. This articles touches on some recent guidance in...more

Developments Impacting Benefits for Same-Sex Spouses

As federal and state agencies and courts further examine the implications of the Supreme Court of the United States’ ruling on same-sex marriage in U.S. v. Windsor, the laws and regulations governing employee benefits for...more

Same-Sex Spouses and 401(k) and Pension Plans - Does Your Plan Need to be Amended by December 31, 2014?

Same-Sex Spouses are Spouses for Qualified Plan Purposes - On July 26, 2013, in United States v. Windsor, the United States Supreme Court held that the prohibition against recognizing a same-sex spouse as a spouse for...more

What Is The Status Of Domestic Partnership Benefits On A Federal Level Post-Windsor?

Before the United States Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”) in United States v. Windsor, the federal definition of “marriage” was limited to that between a man and a woman. For that reason,...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 Wants FMLA to Cover Same-Sex Couples

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is seeking to extend coverage of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to same-sex couples following a Supreme Court ruling that federal benefits cannot be limited based on a...more

CFPB Issues Guidance On Ensuring Equal Treatment For Married Same-Sex Couples

On July 8, the CFPB released guidance designed to ensure equal treatment for legally married same-sex couples in response to the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor, 133 S. Ct. 2675 (2013). ...more

Recent Employee Benefits Developments

Amending Retirement Plans to Recognize Same-Sex Marriages Plan sponsors need to review retirement plan documents and operations to determine whether changes are needed in response to last year's Supreme Court decision in U.S....more

The CFPB issues guidance on ensuring equal treatment for same-sex married couples

On June 25, 2014, the CFPB issued guidance setting forth basic principles on the issue of equal treatment for legally-married same-sex couples. The CFPB noted that this guidance was issued in response to the decision in...more

DOL Seeks to Extend FMLA Rights Relating to Same-Sex Spouses

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published a notice of proposed rulemaking on June 27, 2014, announcing a proposal that would expand the definition of “spouse” under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to include all...more

U.S. Department of Labor Proposes to Change Rule Regarding Who Is a Same-Sex Spouse under the FMLA

On Friday, June 20, 2014, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) announced its intention to change the regulatory definition of who is a “spouse” for purposes of the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). The impetus for the...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

DOL Proposes To Amend FMLA’s Definition of ‘Spouse’

A year after the Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act in United States v. Windsor, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has proposed to amend its regulations under the Family and Medical Leave Act...more

Obama Administration Announces Proposed Rule Extending FMLA Leave Rights for Same-Sex Couples

President Obama plans to announce today a proposed rule that would allow an employee to take FMLA leave to care for a same-sex spouse, regardless of whether the employee lives in a state that recognizes their marital status. ...more

IRS Issues Guidance on Qualified Plan Amendments Regarding Same Sex Spouses

Employers have been considering the impact on benefit programs, including the qualified retirement plans, of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision recognizing the validity of same sex marriages. In September, 2013, the IRS issued...more

IRS Provides Guidance on Retroactivity of DOMA Decision for Qualified Retirement Plans

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently issued Notice 2014-19 and related answers to FAQs, which give plan sponsors additional guidance on how the Supreme Court's decision last June in U.S. v. Windsor applies...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

Despite Windsor, Federal Court Rejects Challenge to a Self-Insured ERISA Health Plan’s Denial of Coverage for Same-Sex Spouses

Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in US v. Windsor, the requirement that an ERISA health plan provide health coverage for same-sex spouses has often hinged on whether an employee benefit plan was insured or...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

New IRS Guidance on Same-Sex Marriages and Retirement Plans Requires Action by Employers

The Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) have issued Notice 2014-9 (the “Notice”) and related Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQs”) providing much anticipated guidance on the application of the Supreme...more

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