Murtha Means More

Supreme Court Strikes Down Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)

June 26, 2013

Supreme Court Strikes Down Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)

In a 5-4 decision, the United States Supreme Court struck down DOMA, the federal law which prevents any federal program from recognizing legally married same-sex couples as married for federal law purposes.

This decision has significant effects for employers.  For instance, in Connecticut and Massachusetts (and all other states recognizing same sex marriage) same sex spouses will be entitled to the same tax deductions as legally married heterosexual couples.  Employers will no longer have to include the cost of health benefits provided to a same sex spouse in an employee’s income.  Employees can name their same sex spouse as the beneficiary of their 401(k) or other pension plan without adverse tax consequences.

We will provide additional updates as the scope of this decision plays out.  Retroactivity and employer assistance in obtaining tax refunds may be a big issue.  We will provide information as soon as we can.  If you have any questions contact Lissa J. Paris at 860.240.6032/ or William J. Keenan, Jr. at 860.240.6028/

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