DOL Says Use State of Celebration for Marriage Definition

September 18, 2013 ( – The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced new guidance about the impact of the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor on the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

According to Technical Release 2013-04, in general, the terms “spouse” and “marriage” in Title I of ERISA and in related department regulations should be read to include same-sex couples legally married in any state or foreign jurisdiction that recognizes such marriages, regardless of where they currently live. On June 26, the Windsor decision struck down the provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act that denied federal benefits to legally married, same-sex couples.

Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez said, “The department plans to issue additional guidance in the coming months as we continue to consult with the Department of Justice and other federal agencies to implement the decision.”

Last month, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced that same-sex couples, legally married in jurisdictions that recognize their marriages, will be treated as married for federal tax purposes (see “Same-Sex Marriages Recognized for Tax Purposes”).

The full text of the technical release is at