Minnesota 12th state to recognize same-sex marriage

by Michael G. McNally

The Minnesota Marriage Equality Bill, HF 1054, was signed into law by Governor Mark Dayton on May 14, 2013. Effective August 1, 2013, Minnesota will allow individuals of the same sex to marry.

Employers need to review their policies relating to employee health and retirement benefits to reflect this change. What changes are allowed or required will differ based on whether the benefit is governed by state or federal law.

Documents embodying employers’ policies, including plan documents and employee handbooks, should be revised. Similarly, an employer’s implementation of any changes may necessitate adjustments in payroll and tax procedures. In deciding what changes will be made to employee benefits, it is important to understand which changes are required under the law and which, though not required, may promote a diverse workforce.

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on the federal Defense of Marriage Act in June. Guidance and careful consideration are necessary for you to stay compliant with all aspects of the law. Stay tuned for more detailed coverage on the impact of the new same-sex marriage law in the July Issue of Minnesota Employment Law Letter.

Michael G. McNally is a senior associate at Felhaber Larson Fenlon & Vogt in Minneapolis. You can reach him at