In November 2012, voters in Maine approved a ballot measure allowing the state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The law became effective December 29, 2012. The 2012 vote overturned a 2009 ballot measure that banned same-sex marriage.
The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down as unconstitutional Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defined marriage as only between a man and a woman (United States v. Windsor, 133 S.Ct. 2675 (2013)). The ruling requires equal treatment under federal law of spouses in legally recognized same-sex and opposite-sex marriages. Therefore, most employee benefit plans regulated by federal law under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) must provide equally for those in same-sex and opposite-sex marriages. In addition, all same-sex couples legally married in jurisdictions that recognize their marriages are treated as married for federal tax purposes.
The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid family and medical leave to an eligible employee who needs to care for a spouse with a serious health condition. Following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Windsor, employers in Maine are required to provide an employee in a same-sex marriage with FMLA leave on the same basis as an employee in an opposite-sex marriage.