Main | Thursday, June 26, 2014

Labor Secretary Tom Perez Cheers DOMA Anniversary, Promises Further Reforms

Via press release from Secretary of Labor Tom Perez:
It was a year ago today, June 26, that the Supreme Court issued its decision in U.S. vs. Windsor repealing the Defense of Marriage Act (known as DOMA). Since then, President Obama has instructed all Cabinet members to review relevant federal statutes and regulations to ensure full implementation of Windsor, and we have responded accordingly. Covered retirement and health employee benefit plans now have to extend otherwise eligible same-sex spouses the same protections as opposite-sex spouses. And we've updated our Family and Medical Leave Act guidance materials to remove all references to DOMA provisions that denied federal benefits to legally married, same-sex couples.

The FMLA, enacted in 1993, allows eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid leave for specified family and medical reasons — for example, caring for a spouse who has a serious health condition — without the fear of losing your job. But currently, the FMLA's regulatory definition of "spouse" only applies to same-sex spouses if they are living in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage. So last week we issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would change the definition so that FMLA protections would be based on the law of where the marriage took place. We welcome and encourage public comments on the proposed rule, which can be submitted through written comments.
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