Windsor Decision Brings Equal Benefits to Some Same-Sex Couples and Compliance Concerns to Employers
The U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in United States v. Windsor, which struck down the Defense of Marriage Act provision limiting the federal definition of marriage to legal unions between one man and one woman, has left employers and employees alike scratching their heads regarding what the ruling means for family and medical leaves and employee benefits. Will compliance with Windsor require a bit more work for in-house counsel and human resources professionals? In the short term, yes. And given the likelihood of further changes in state marriage laws and federal agency guidance on numerous issues stemming from the Windsor ruling, continued monitoring and future adjustments are to be expected. But when the full impact of the Windsor decision shakes out, the end result should be equal treatment of same-sex couples with regard to leaves and employee benefits and fewer administrative burdens for companies in managing these benefits – changes that should be welcome to same-sex couples and employers alike.