The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday overturned the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the federal law that defined marriage as between a man and a woman. With the ruling, the federal government must now recognize marriage between same sex couples in the 12 states and the District of Columbia that currently allow same sex marriage. These states include all of New England and New York.
Within these states, married same sex couples will now be eligible for the same federal benefits and rights enjoyed by heterosexual couples. These include FMLA, COBRA, social security, pension benefits including 401Ks, and federal tax benefits.
While the details must still be worked out, employers should begin reviewing their current policies and practices and consulting with their benefit brokers and payroll and tax professionals to prepare for the changes in order to meet all compliance requirements.
As more information becomes available, I will post it to this blog.
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