New York State’s Marriage Equality Act, (“Act”), became effective last week on July 24, 2011. The Act had been signed into law one month earlier, on June 24, 2011 by New York governor Andrew Cuomo. The Act amends New York’s Domestic Relations Law to provide that same-sex couples may obtain a marriage license in New York, and to require that a same-sex marriage be treated the same as an opposite-sex marriage “in all respects under [New York] law.” New York is the sixth state to adopt such a law, in addition to the District of Columbia.
The Act’s impact on employer-sponsored health and welfare benefit plans has generated many questions from clients. The attached memo sets forth the top 10 questions we have received on this topic from employers with employees who live in New York State and provides our views on the answers, based on information available to date.