Author: Beth Zoller, XpertHR Legal Editor
Delaware is now the 11th state to permit same-sex marriage under a new law that will go into effect on July 1, 2013. This follows Rhode Island's passage of a similar law last week. +2013 Bill Text DE H.B. 75.
Under the new law, individuals in same-sex marriages will enjoy all the rights, benefits and protections, and will be subject to all the same responsibilities, obligations and duties, as opposite-sex married persons under Delaware law. Prior law only allowed same-sex couples to enter into civil unions. No new civil unions will be performed in Delaware after July 1, 2013, and over the course of the next year existing civil unions will be converted to marriages. Further, same-sex unions formed out of state will be treated the same as marriages under Delaware law.
As a result of this new law, Delaware employers should consider reviewing and revising workplace policies regarding sexual orientation discrimination and benefits for same-sex spouses. Employers also should keep a close watch on the Defense of Marriage Act, which the Supreme Court is expected to rule on this year, as this decision could also have a significant impact on benefits, nondiscrimination, employee leaves and payroll.