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Potential Repeal of DOMA?

As same-sex marriages began taking place over the weekend in New York state (click here for more information on the benefit implications of that development), another development that could have even more far-ranging implications for benefit plans also occurred last week. Specifically, last week the Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings on a bill entitled the “Respect for Marriage Act” which would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act’s (DOMA) definition of marriage for purposes of federal law as a union between one man and one woman. If the Respect for Marriage Act were enacted, it would -- among other things -- significantly complicate the administration of benefit plans on a multitude of issues such income tax inclusion, COBRA, death benefits, etc. (For more information, click here). There could also be significant confusion regarding whether a same-sex marriage entered into in one state can or must be recognized by another state; the federal DOMA inspired many states to enact their own mini-DOMA statutes, the constitutionality of which might be in question if the Respect for Marriage Act were enacted.

Legislative prospects for the Respect for Marriage Act are difficult to predict. However, consistent with the Administration’s position to stop enforcing portions of DOMA (click here for more information), the President has indicated his willingness to sign the Respect for Marriage Act if presented to him.

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Todd A. Solomon apension 401k attroney  McDermott Will & Emery LLP, Chcago
Partner

Todd A. Solomon is a partner in the law firm of McDermott Will & Emery LLP and is based in the Firm’s Chicago office.  Todd focuses his practice primarily on designing, amending, and administering pension plans, profit sharing plans, 401(k) plans, employee stock ownership plans, 403(b) plans, and nonqualified deferred compensation arrangements.  He also counsels privately and publicly held corporations and tax-exempt entities regarding fiduciary issues under ERISA, employee benefits issues involved in corporate transactions, executive compensation matters, and the implementation of...

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Brian J. Tiemann, Labor Attorney, McDermott Law Firm
Partner

Brian J. Tiemann is a partner in the law firm of McDermott Will & Emery LLP and is based in the Firm’s Chicago office.   Brian focuses his practice on a variety of employee benefits matters related to pension plans, 401(k) plans, employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs), cafeteria and welfare plans, executive compensation and the implementation of benefit programs for domestic partners of employees.  He is a member of the Firm’s ESOP Affinity Group and has worked with clients to structure and maintain the qualified status of their ESOPs with the Internal Revenue...

312-984-3268