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Supreme Court Ruling on United States v. Windsor

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June 2013

The U. S. Supreme Court has ruled that a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. DOMA limited federal recognition of marriage to opposite-sex spouses. The ruling is limited to eliminating the restriction on what type of marriages are recognized by federal law. Consequently, now federal law defers to state law to determine the marital status of same-sex couples. Employers should review plan definitions of the terms "spouse" and "dependent." Taxation of benefits for same sex spouses is expected to be addressed by the IRS. For a more detailed analysis of the broad impact this decision has on the application of federal laws and several employee benefit issues, view our FR Alert published last week. 

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