July 13, 2015
Authored by: Lisa Van Fleet and Serena Yee
Two years after recognizing same-sex marriages for purposes of federal law, the U.S. Supreme Court has gone a step further, requiring that all states recognize same-sex marriages as valid if they were valid in the jurisdiction where they were performed. Further, states are required to license same-sex marriages no differently than opposite sex marriages. In short, the Supreme Court struck down existing state bans on same-sex marriage.
Effect on 401(k) Plans and Other Qualified Plans: 401(k) and other qualified retirement plans are not impacted by Obergefell, since the previous Windsor decision, along with guidance issued by the IRS following Windsor, already required qualified retirement plans to recognize same-sex spouses. Following Windsor, same-sex marriages were to be treated no differently than opposite-sex marriages for all purposes, including automatic survivor benefits (spousal annuities),