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Coffee Talk
Business Observer Friday, Jul. 17, 2015 5 years ago

Same-sex marriage ruling impact dissected

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The U.S. Supreme Court's same-sex marriage ruling will impact more than state and local government officials.

The U.S. Supreme Court's same-sex marriage ruling will impact more than state and local government officials.

It matters to businesses, too, and not just in extending services like health benefits to married couples. It's also a scale back for companies that were “progressive” in recognizing gay and lesbian couples before they could legally marry.

“You've had companies like Disney that have provided partner benefits for many years now, but now those companies are going have to find ways of taking that away,” Fisher & Phillips attorney and partner Andrew Froman tells Coffee Talk. “If you want to get benefits for your spouse, you will need to be married, just like those companies require of heterosexual couples.”

Another possible impact of the ruling on businesses could come later, if and when federal or state civil rights laws are changed to list sexual orientation as a protected class. Froman says that's not likely to happen soon, given “Congress right now is controlled by the more conservative party, and our legislature here is dominated by Republicans.”

Froman recommends companies, in response to the ruling, consider diversity training and make sure internal policies reflect the changes. “Get educated on what the Supreme Court decision actually means,” Froman says.

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