The Supreme Court Decision on DOMA: Impact on Employee Benefit Plans
On June 26, the Supreme Court issued its long awaited decision in United States v. Windsor, striking down section three of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Section three of DOMA provided that for purposes of federal law "marriage" meant only a legal union between one man and one woman and "spouse" referred only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife. However, the Court left intact section two of DOMA, which allows a state to refuse to recognize a marriage performed under the laws of another state. After Windsor, the definitions of "spouse" and "marriage" under federal statutes will be based on state law definitions of such terms.