Benefits and Compensation

Same-Sex Marriage Is Established but Benefits Issues Persist

By Susan Schoenfeld, JD

It’s been over 2 years since the U.S. Supreme Court effectively legalized same-sex marriage in the case of U.S. v. Windsor and a year since the Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, required states to issue marriage licenses for same-sex marriages and to recognize a same-sex marriage performed in another state. So, everything is resolved, right?

Not so fast, says Todd Solomon a partner at McDermott, Will & Emery, speaking at the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM’s) 2016 Employment Law & Legislative conference recently held in Washington, DC. Issues still exist for HR professionals administering benefit plans for same-sex couples, namely issues arise in the benefits areas for:

  • Retirement benefits;
  • Health and welfare plans;
  • Taxation of benefits;
  • Transgender benefits; and
  • Unmarried partner benefits

Although the concept and legality of same-sex marriage is universally understood, benefits issues have continued to confound human resources professionals, says Solomon.

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