by Steve Anderson
2013 was a historic year in the United States for marriage equality. The case against Prop 8 was taken and heard by the US Supreme Court – the first time a marriage case for gay and lesbian Americans had ever been briefed before the nation’s highest court. Equality prevailed and now gay and lesbian couples can now get married in California, the most populous state in America.
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 18, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The U.S. Department of Labor today announced new guidance interpreting the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor. In a technical release, the department’s Employee Benefits Security Administration provides guidance to plans, plan sponsors, fiduciaries, participants and beneficiaries on the decision’s impact on the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974.
The release states that, in general, the terms “spouse” and “marriage” in Title I of ERISA and in related department regulations should be read to include same-sex couples legally married in any state or foreign jurisdiction that recognizes such marriages, regardless of where they currently live. On June 26, 2013, the Windsor decision struck down the provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act that denied federal benefits to legally married, same-sex couples.
“This decision represents a historic step toward equality for all American families, and I have directed the department’s agency heads to ensure that they are implementing the decision in a way that provides maximum protection for workers and their families,” said Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. “The department plans to issue additional guidance in the coming months as we continue to consult with the Department of Justice and other federal agencies to implement the decision.”
“By providing greater clarity on how the Supreme Court’s decision affects one of the laws we enforce, we are contributing to greater equality and greater protection for America’s working families,” said Assistant Secretary for Employee Benefits Security Phyllis C. Borzi.
EBSA protects the retirement, health and other workplace-related benefits of America’s workers, retirees and their families. The agency oversees approximately 701,000 private sector retirement plans, 2.3 million health plans and other plans that provide benefits to more than 141 million Americans. Collectively, these plans hold more than $7.3 trillion in assets. Additional information can be found at www.dol.gov/ebsa.
The full text of the technical release is available at www.dol.gov/ebsa/newsroom/tr13-04.html.
U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille or CD from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.
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SOURCE U.S. Department of Labor
WASHINGTON - U.S. Department of The Treasury – The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) today ruled that same-sex couples, legally married in jurisdictions that recognize their marriages, will be treated as married for federal tax purposes. The ruling applies regardless of whether the couple lives in a jurisdiction that recognizes same-sex marriage or a jurisdiction that does not recognize same-sex marriage.
The ruling implements federal tax aspects of the June 26th Supreme Court decision invalidating a key provision of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.
“Today’s ruling provides certainty and clear, coherent tax filing guidance for all legally married same-sex couples nationwide. It provides access to benefits, responsibilities and protections under federal tax law that all Americans deserve,” said Secretary Jacob J. Lew. “This ruling also assures legally married same-sex couples that they can move freely throughout the country knowing that their federal filing status will not change.”
by Steve Anderson
Scotch Tape Productions has created a final video in the back-and-forth video saga that began with “Gay men will marry your girlfriends“. It’s a fitting way to end the humorous video dialog, as the Supreme Court has overturned California’s Prop 8 and deemed DOMA unconstitutional. This video is appropriately (but lengthy) titled: Straight Men and Gay Men Respond to Gay Men Marrying Other Gay Men and Not Straight Women.