Labor Dept.: Same-Sex Spouses Have Benefit Rights - ABC News
Back up links:Labor Dept.: Same-Sex Spouses Have Benefit Rights
WASHINGTON September 18, 2013 (AP)
By SAM HANANEL Associated Press
Legally married same-sex couples have the right to participate in employee benefit plans even if they live in states that don't recognize their union, the Labor Department said Wednesday.
The new guidance means gay spouses enjoy the same federal rights as other married couples when it comes to pensions, 401Ks, health plans and other similar benefits.
It is the latest effort by the Obama administration to clarify questions left unanswered after the Supreme Court's landmark ruling in June which invalidated part of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. The interpretation is consistent with a ruling from the Internal Revenue Service last month that legally married gay couples can file joint federal tax returns even if they reside in states that do not recognize same-sex marriages.
"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 Labor Secretary Thomas Perez.
The agency said the terms "spouse" and "marriage" in the Employee Retirement Income Security Act should be read to include same-sex couples regardless of where they currently reside. That means a gay couple that marries legally in Minnesota or New York can still participate equally in retirement and other federal employee benefits if they move to Florida, where gay marriage is not legal.
The interpretation "provides a uniform rule of recognition that can be applied with certainty by stakeholders, including employers, plan administrators, participants, and beneficiaries," the agency said.
Groups that represent large employers welcomed the guidance, saying it makes it easier for companies operating across the country to have uniform rules to follow when it comes to issues like spousal consent on distribution of benefits and survivorship rights. Gay marriage is currently legal in 13 states and the District of Columbia. The new guidance extends federal employee benefit rights to married same-sex couples in the other 37 states — even those that have laws refusing to recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.
Labor Dept.: Same-sex spouses have employee benefit rights regardless of residence - The Washington Post
Labor Dept: same-sex spouses can participate in benefit plans | Reuters
Labor Department: Gay Married Couples Have Benefit Plan Rights
Another day another article!
Seems we cant even go a week with out another stone placed in the road to equality.
Like i said a bunch of times already, slowly but surely equal rights for gays is going to crush the bigotry and discrimination they face.
The precedence that already exists, the fall of DOMA and the gain of federal benefits and protections is a very key element. Those states banning gay marriage are gonna make it easier in the long run.
I actually cant express how happy these new victories make me.
""Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing...after they have exhausted all other possibilities." Churchill
well unfortunately we do make mistakes, we are taking the long way around in fixing these gross discriminatory practices BUT, we are now doing the right thing. There's light at the end of the tunnel on this subject and its NOT a train. Its the beacon of equality shinning through the darkness of hate, bigotry and discrimination. Its like a north star guiding us to righteousness and whats right.
I personally am happy to be witness to it, to be a part of it, support it and help this great achievement for my country. In my life there were times where i never thought my eyes would actually witness equality for gays but now i know that is factually wrong. My doubts were premature, my disgust of bigotry and discrimination tarnished my outlook and hope. The vile ignorance and hate I've witness and heard with my own eyes and ears made me a pessimist on this issue and its a shame because thats not who i am, Im a optimist and im very ecstatic that this positive outlook is restored. While theres still many steps to go, im very proud of my country and the people responsible for helping equality win once again. Better late than never.