On September 18, 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor followed the Internal Revenue Service in stating that the definitions of “spouse” and “marriage” used in the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) and the Internal Revenue Code provisions will be deemed to include same sex couples who were married in a jurisdiction which recognized their marriage, even if the state where the couple currently resides does not recognize the marriage. This guidance helps further clarify the federal status of same sex couples. There are still many unanswered questions, and it is still not necessarily clear whether couples living in Georgia will be better off marrying in another jurisdiction in order to obtain federal recognition. We will continue to monitor developments in this area.
Loraine M. DiSalvo