The U.S. Supreme Court has just ruled, 5-4, that the Fourteenth Amendment requires a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state. The landmark decision renders any state law bans on same-sex marriage unconstitutional and paves the way to equality for same-sex spouses.
This decision will have many tax and benefits consequences, including that any benefit plan offering spousal coverage now will confer such benefits on same-sex spouses. Additionally, imputed income – at the state and federal level – will no longer apply to benefits provided to same-sex spouses.
When and how each state reacts and responds to the decision (and how quickly employers might need to react) remains to be seen, but the time horizon for changes should be short. The opinion should be officially mandated in two weeks, but some states might start recognizing marriages immediately. We will have more information on the opinion and its potential impact later today.
We will have a webinar after the ruling is made official in a couple of weeks to share what information is available and any possible implications.