Rhode Island, federal law changes affect how employers treat same-sex married couples

July 16, 2013 0 COMMENTS

by Matthew H. Parker

A series of amendments to Rhode Island law and the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 26 decision in United States v. Windsor have changed how most Rhode Island employers must treat same-sex married couples.

Under the amendments, which go into effect on August 1, anyone who is eligible to marry in Rhode Island will be able to marry any other eligible person “regardless of gender.” Also, Rhode Island will recognize valid same-sex marriages from other states.

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U.S. Supreme Court finds DOMA provision unconstitutional, dismisses Proposition 8 case

June 26, 2013 0 COMMENTS

It came as no great surprise that the U.S. Supreme Court withheld its opinion on two landmark decisions on same-sex marriage rights until the last decision day of the 2012-2013 term. This, however, would be the only lack of surprise of the day, as the Court delivered two opinions that significantly change the landscape for employee benefits in the United States.

In United States v. Windsor, commonly referred to as the “DOMA case,” the court ruled in a 5-4 decision that the portion of the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) defining marriage as a “legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife” for the determination of federal benefits is in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause.

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