Same-sex marriage rulings trigger big changes to HR


Same-sex marriage

The Supreme Court’s decision to declare unconstitutional key provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act is expected to mean a major overhaul of federal rules affecting employee benefits administration and payroll operations.

For benefits managers, the ruling – striking down a key section of the hotly contested 1996 law that prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriages– also means more confusion while they wait for more legal rulings and IRS rules to come.

Under the ruling, same-sex marriage legally wed where allowed by various states now must be treated as spouses under the U.S. tax code, ERISA, and more than 1,000 other federal laws.

The ruling in the DOMA cases well as in California’s Proposition 8 battle take effect immediately and, according to Mercer, possibly even retroactively.

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