SCOTUS marriage ruling a boon for data companies, HR benefits

Friday's ruling from the Supreme Court declaring same-sex couples are guaranteed the right to get married may help ease the burden for data companies and benefit providers that previously had to navigate state-by-state laws when inputting information for benefits, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

Before same-sex couples were granted the right to have their marriages recognized in all 50 states, data companies and human resources benefits administration had to individually and manually input information for same sex couples into otherwise automated systems to account for varied marriage laws.

For example, if an employee was married in a state that recognized same-sex marriages but worked in a state that did not recognize them, data companies and human resources would have to file information for tax purposes differently, recognizing the individual as married for federal purposes but not married for state purposes, according to the report.

What's more, the varying marriage laws cost American businesses more than $1 billion a year, according to an amicus brief filed in the Supreme Court in March by companies including Apple, General Electric and CVS Health.

"Companies operating nationwide, many of whom have centralized HR functions, find themselves in a complicated labyrinth of differing rules, regulations and internal policies," the brief said.

Todd Solomon, a partner in the employee benefits practice group at McDermott Will & Emery in Chicago, told WSJ the SCOTUS ruling eliminates much of the complexity surrounding different statuses at different levels of government.

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