Same-Sex Marriages and ERISA’s Preemption


Atlantic Legal has responded to a Massachusetts federal court judges invitation to file an amicus curiae brief to address how benefits for same-sex married couples are to be handled under ERISA. The case at hand (Massachusetts Nurses Association v. Essent Healthcare) arises on a motion to enforce an arbitrators award under a collective bargaining agreement denying coverage for a grievants same-sex spouse. The Foundations brief urges the court to follow Supreme Court precedents implementing Congressional intentions to ensure that plan sponsors are to be subject to a uniform body of benefits law rather than having to comply with conflicting directions among states or between state and federal law. Closely analogous cases in other federal courts have upheld the ERISA preemption, promoting uniformity and saving administrative expense.