North Carolina Domestic Partner Benefits laws & HR compliance analysis

North Carolina Domestic Partner Benefits: What you need to know

Same-sex marriages in North Carolina became lawful after a federal district court in North Carolina ruled that North Carolina’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional (Synod v. Cooper, No. 3:14cv213 (W.D.N.C. 2014)). A stay on the decision was lifted after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review a decision by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals affirming the unconstitutionality of a state law banning same-sex marriage.
The U.S. Supreme Court subsequently issued a decision legalizing same-sex marriage in all states and requiring all states to recognize same-sex marriages legally performed in other jurisdictions (Obergefell v. Hodges, 135 S.Ct. 2584 (2015)).
Reciprocity. Same-sex and opposite-sex marriages legally performed in other jurisdictions are recognized as legal marriages in North Carolina.
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Self-funded employee benefit plans governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) are subject to federal law. The U.S. Supreme Court 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, employee benefits regulated by federal law such as ERISA and federal income tax law generally must provide equally for those in same-sex and opposite-sex marriages. There may be narrow exceptions under ERISA that permit self-funded plans to exclude coverage for employees’ same-sex spouses, but such exclusions may subject an employer to discrimination claims.
Fully insured health plans are subject to state laws. ...

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North Carolina Domestic Partner Benefits Resources

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