Same-Sex Marriage Is Creating Workplace Confusion

In the last few weeks there have been significant legal developments related to same-sex marriage impacting employers.  In June, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.  On July 9, 2014, an Adams County District Court judge ruled Colorado’s limit on same-sex marriage violates the U.S. Constitution.  Although both of these decisions were stayed pending appeal, some county clerks have begun issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. In response, Colorado’s Attorney General has filed a motion with the Colorado Supreme Court seeking an injunction prohibiting the issuance of further marriage licenses to same-sex couples pending final adjudication of the litigation challenging the constitutionality of Colorado’s marriage laws.

The issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples prior to final resolution of the litigation has led to uncertainty about the validity of the marriage licenses and how employers should administer benefits.  Will the marriage provide the employee with HIPAA special enrollment rights?  Will employers be required to provide FMLA leave for an employee to care for their same-sex spouse?  Or must employers wait until the Colorado Supreme Court weighs in?  The current status of spousal recognition laws and the impact of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in U.S. v. Windsor on the administration of employee benefits will be addressed at MSEC’s Benefit Update Conference.

Don’t miss an opportunity to get the latest guidance on this fast-moving subject. Register now for MSEC’s Benefit Update Conference! Click here for more details.