The effects of the DOMA decision continue to ripple through the employee benefit world. The DOL recently issued guidance indicating that same sex couples validly married in one jurisdiction are treated as spouses for ERISA purposes even though the state where they reside does not recognize same sex marriages. The IRS issued similar guidance earlier.
What this means for retirement plans for example is that validly married same sex couples are spouses for any type of benefit or action that needs spousal consent. Plan sponsors need to now pay attention to the existence of same sex married couples for benefit plan purposes.