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U.S. Supreme Court rules on DOMA, California’s Prop 8

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

by Hera Arsen, J.D., Ph.D., Ogletree Deakins, Torrance

The U.S. Supreme Court in June issued two highly anticipated decisions addressing same-sex marriage in cases that resonated nationwide and in California.

In United States v. Windsor, the High Court ruled that a key part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional on equal protection grounds. On the same day, the Court also issued its decision in Hollingsworth v. Perry, a case on California’s Proposition 8, which defined marriage to exclude same-sex couples.

The cases are significant for employers because they are likely to have ripple effects on state, federal and local laws, in particular those dealing with employee benefit plans, taxation and immigration.

The DOMA case

DOMA, which Congress enacted in 1996, defines marriage under federal law as a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife. In addition, DOMA clarifies that a “spou...(register to read more)

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