DOMA Implications for Employee Benefit Plans

18 Pages Posted: 31 May 2014

Date Written: September 30, 2013


The U.S. Supreme Court recently held section 3 of DOMA to be unconstitutional in United States v. Windsor. However, in disposing of Hollingsworth v. Perry, the Court left section 2 of DOMA intact. Windsor has significant rippling effects because there are 1,138 instances of the use of the terms "marriage" and "spouse" in federal laws relying on DOMA section 3. Employee benefit plans will be affected significantly because there are benefits and rights extended to a participant's spouse and dependents under ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code. This article highlights those changes and raises the outstanding issues.

Keywords: ERISA, DOMA, Windsor

Suggested Citation

Kennedy, Kathryn J., DOMA Implications for Employee Benefit Plans (September 30, 2013). Tax Notes, Vol. 140, 2013, Available at SSRN:

Kathryn J. Kennedy (Contact Author)

John Marshall Law School ( email )

315 South Plymouth Court
Chicago, IL 60604
United States
312-427-2737 ext. 515 (Phone)

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