Addressing Domestic Partner Benefits After Obergefell
Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has held that states must permit and recognize same-sex marriages, employers that have previously provided for domestic partner benefits may want to address whether those benefits should be continued. Factors to be considered include:
Employers that have in the past only provided same-sex domestic partner benefits, and that wish continue those benefits, may be subject to discrimination claims by opposite sex domestic partners.
There is a risk of adverse selection posed by domestic partnerships. Because domestic partnerships do not involve all of the legal entanglements of a marriage, they are more likely to be entered solely for purposes of obtaining benefits.
- The tax complexities associated with domestic partner benefits could be eliminated.
Employers that decide to eliminate domestic partner benefits may want to provide a significant transition period so that employees can either decide to get married or find alternative coverage.