Supreme Court Ruling on DOMA – What It Means for Employers

Legislative BriefOn June 26, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court announced its decision regarding the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 (DOMA). The Court struck down Section 3 of DOMA, which limited marriage to opposite sex unions for purposes of federal law.

In a 5-4 decision, the court found this definition to be a violation of equal protection rights under the U.S. Constitution, holding that same-sex couples who are legally married under state law will be entitled to equal treatment under federal law with regard to income taxes and federal benefits. However, the Court’s ruling does not establish a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.

This decision will impact employers in states that recognize same-sex marriage with respect to things like:

  • Taxation of employee benefits;
  • Leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA); and
  • Enrollment rights under HIPAA and COBRA.

To learn more, read the full Supreme Court Ruling on DOMA – What It Means for Employers Legislative Brief

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