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Court Rulings that Federal Ban on Same-Sex Marriage is Unconstitutional Raises Significant Implications for Employee Benefit Plans

The U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts has issued decisions declaring the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional. Employers should be aware that the decisions could have significant implications for employee benefit plans. On July 8, 2010, the U.S. District...

Why Tax Same-Sex Couples on Employer-Provided Health Benefits?

This past week marked a significant change in the area of hospital visitation rights. Under new regulations implemented by President Obama, hospitals that participate in Medicare and Medicaid programs (i.e., most U.S. hospitals) must allow patients to decide visitation rights, as well as who will make...

District Court: Estate Tax Marital Deduction Triggers Unconstitutional Ruling on DOMA

In a case that began with a claim for a refund of estate taxes paid, Judge Barbara S. Jones of the Southern District of New York ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause of the 5th Amendment. Edie Windsor and Thea Spyer were a couple for...

DOMA Doomed by Estate Tax Refund Claim

The United States Supreme Court has struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as an unconstitutional violation of the "equal liberty" protections of the 5th Amendment. The dispute in U.S. v. Windsor * began when Edie Windsor filed a claim for refund of estate taxes paid after the death...