The U.S. Supreme Court decision in United States v. Windsor, holding that Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional, will affect virtually all employers across the country. While the Court’s decision means that the federal government will generally recognize same-sex spouses as married for purposes of federal laws, protections and obligations, it leaves some unanswered questions for employers and other plan sponsors regarding benefit plan administration, and notably does not force states to permit or recognize same-sex marriage, which will be significant for employers operating in those states. This alert examines what the decision means for benefit plan sponsors.

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