June is Pride month and this weekÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down a key provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that defines marriage as between a man and a woman, gives added significance to our annual round-up of the latest news affecting the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
Supreme Court Rulings: On June 26, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down two long-awaited decisions on same-sex marriage. Aon Hewitt notes that these rulings will have long-term implications for employers that sponsor employee benefit plans. Given that section 3 of DOMA affects more than 1,000 federal laws, including those related to estate and gift taxes, Social Security benefits and tax return filings, Willis reports that the DOMA ruling will have a significant impact on employer-sponsored plans. According to the Wall Street Journal, one of the biggest changes for married gay couples will be equal tax treatment of health insurance premiums. The DOMA ruling applies only to workers in the 12 states, plus the District of Columbia, that recognize gay marriage. Questions abound in the wake of the ruling, Willis adds. Insurers were among the 278 leading businesses that signed an amicus brief submitted in the DOMA case. A Hartford Courant blog post has more on the insurance implications of the Supreme CourtÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s DOMA ruling.
Corporate Equality: A record 252 businesses, including 12 insurers scored 100 percent in the Human Rights Campaign FoundationÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 2013 Corporate Equality Index (CEI) based on their LGBT workplace policies, benefits and practices. The number of insurers achieving the top ranking almost doubled to 12, up from seven the prior year. A total of 889 businesses were rated in the 2013 CEI, including the entire Fortune 500. This year saw the largest growth in the surveyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s history with 54 new businesses participating.