Aftermath of Supreme Court’s Ruling on DOMA: Agency Guidance Affecting Employee Benefit Plans
30 September 2013
Mayer Brown Legal Update
In late June 2013, the US Supreme Court ruled, in the case of U.S. v. Windsor, that Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”) was unconstitutional under the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment and under equal protection principles.1 Section 3 of DOMA had barred same-sex married couples from being recognized as “spouses” for purposes of various federal laws and for the purpose of receiving federal benefits. The ruling left unanswered a number of questions about how employerprovided benefit plans would be affected and offered no roadmap for plan administration. Federal agencies have since begun to address those questions and this legal update reports on important post-Windsor guidance issued by the Treasury and Labor departments.