Utah and Oklahoma enter Same-Sex Marriage debate

The U.S. Supreme Court recently granted a stay of same-sex marriages in the state of Utah after more than 1,300 same-sex marriages were performed and after the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals refused to enter a stay.  The federal government announced that, despite Utah's refusal to recognize the marriages under state law, the marriages would be recognized for federal-law purposes.

Separately, in Oklahoma, the state had passed a 2004 constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and refusing to recognize same-sex marriages from other states. The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals found this ban unconstitutional under the U.S. Constitution, but stayed implementation of its order until any appeal of their order is resolved.

While these developments underscore the lack of unanimity among states on the same-sex marriage issue, federal recognition of same-sex marriages continues to apply for all federal-law purposes, including benefit plans governed by ERISA.

For any questions about how your plan should handle these issues, please contact your Trust Fund counsel.

By Conchita Lozano-Batista | January 24, 2014

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