The Massachusetts Supreme Court has ruled that state laws excluding same-sex couples from marriage violate the state constitution, allowing same-sex couples to marry in Massachusetts (Goodridge v. Dep't of Pub. Health, 440 Mass. 309 (Mass. 2003)). Same-sex couples residing in Massachusetts have been able to marry since May 17, 2004, and those who reside outside the state have been able to marry in Massachusetts since July 31, 2008.
Effect on employers. Employers in Massachusetts are required to provide the same benefits, such as health insurance, to same-sex spouses of employees that are provided to opposite-sex spouses. Employees with same-sex spouses are entitled to family leave benefits and deductions provided for under state tax laws.
Note: 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, No. 12-307 (June 26, 2013)). The ruling requires equal treatment under federal law of spouses in legally recognized same-sex and opposite-sex marriages. Therefore, employee benefits regulated by federal law such as the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and federal income tax law must provide equally for those in same-sex and opposite-sex marriages.
Recognition of out-of-state unions. Massachusetts recognizes any marriage legally entered into in another jurisdiction.