WHAT IS A SPOUSE DEFINED AS?

The DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) definition of “spouse” was annulled in 2013 by the Windsor decision, stating it was an unconstitutional violation of the Fifth Amendment’s equal protection clause. Due to this ruling, DOMA no longer limits the definition of “spouse”. ERISA had indicated that benefit plans must recognize legal spouses according to federal law, which recognizes same sex spouses as legal dependents, so long as the marriage was conducted in a State where same sex marriages are legal. We will provide you with a section entitled the “Compliance with Federal Mandates” to use to define “legal spouse”.

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