Federal Involvement in Gay Marriage Rights
Recently the Obama administration, along with the Department of Labor, have proposed expanding the definition of spouse to allow legally married same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Family Military Leave Act. This means that if same-sex couples were married in a state that has legalized gay marriage, then these couples would experience the benefits of the FMLA no matter which state they live in, even if gay marriage in that state is illegal. This in effect would impose federal law over something which has always been a state regulated matter.
In addition, this week U.S. District Judge Richard Young, for the 7th Federal Judicial District, ruled that the State of Indiana’s ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional. This issue is expected to be presented to the U.S. Supreme court because several similar Federal rulings are on hold pending appeal.
FMLA Benefits Now Must Be Provided to Employees with Same-Sex Spouses
When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”) in U.S. v. Windsor, we advised that there would be sweeping implications to employers from everything from benefits enrollment to FMLA entitlements. (See DOMA posts from June 26th, June 28th — Immigration Issues and June 28th — Employee Benefits Issues).
Travel VISAs are now available for Same-Sex Couples
Secretary of State John Kerry announced that “effective immediately” same-sex spouses applying for Visas will be treated in the same manner as opposite-sex spouses. For example, if you are the same-sex spouse of a US Citizen, or a noncitizen your Visa application will be considered equally as if you were an opposite-sex couple. Read more…