Block on Trump's Asylum Ban Upheld by Supreme Court
The Supreme Court has struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Married gay and lesbian couples are entitled to federal benefits, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday in a milestone victory for the gay rights movement.
If your company is not already more inclusive of LGBT employees, it's time to update the benefits packages offered to your LGBT employees and their spouses.
Here are a few of the key federal benefits many same-sex couples stand to receive as a result of the DOMA ruling:
Though gay couples stand to receive thousands of benefits in the wake of the DOMA ruling, things can get complicated depending on where your employee got married and where he or she resides.
Because government agencies follow contradictory statutes and regulations, gay couples living in the 38 states that don't recognize same-sex marriage may only be treated to a fraction of the federal spousal benefits, reports NBC News.
The IRS, for example, would award estate tax exemptions to gay spouses based solely on laws in the state where they live -- no dice for gay couples living in states with bans on same-sex marriages.
"Different federal programs have different standards," said Fred Sainz, a spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights advocacy group. "It's murky."
One more example, if your employee got hitched in Massachusetts and lives in Massachusetts, he or she will have access to these benefits immediately. But if the employee got married in Massachusetts and lives in Alabama, he or she could receive some benefits, but not others. It's uncertain.
Matters will simplify if the federal government adopts the "place of celebration standard," which places the benefits eligibility criteria on where a couple holds their wedding ceremony. But another way to simplify the process is to take the initiative yourself.
Today, the last day the court convened for this term, crowds erupted in cheers just after 10 a.m. as the court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act.
In that spirit, update your policies to reflect greater workplace equality. It's one thing to do the bare minimum to comply with law, it's another thing to go the extra mile and show every employee that he or she is valued and respected.