Supreme Court Rules 5-4: Same-Sex Marriage is a Right

June 26, 2015

Obergefell v. Hodges


In a much anticipated decision, the Supreme Court issued a decision finding that all fifty states must issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and must recognize a same-sex marriage lawfully performed out of state.  The Court found that marriage is a fundamental right that is protected by the Constitution and cannot be denied because both partners are of the same sex.  Most benefit plans have already been amended in response to the Windsor Supreme Court decision two years ago to change the definition of “spouse” to include same-sex spouses if the individuals were married in a state that recognized same-sex marriages.  With this decision, however, all states must recognize same-sex marriage as legal, so there is no longer any need to determine whether someone attempting to enroll a same-sex spouse in the plan has a marriage license from any particular state. 

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