Federal Regulations Disrupt Benefit Plans in Local Cities

August 27, 2014 8:30 am

by Jessica Szilagyi · 10 comments

The federal government is cracking down on cities around the country when considering retirement benefits, mandating that local governments must consider same-sex couples the same as married couples despite the fact that Georgia doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage. The City of Marietta says they are in the process of reworking the definition of ‘spouse’ in order to comply with new regulations in light of the Supreme Court decision, United States v. Windsor.  The ruling essentially says that if a couple was married in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage, retirement benefits must be offered, regardless of the state of employment. Previously, if an employee was setting aside money for retirement from a city salary, they were unable to leave the allocated money to a same-sex partner should they pass. Mayor Tumlin of Marietta says the city is not complying by choice, but simply as a ‘matter of legalese’ and revised benefits apply strictly to retirement- not any other category of benefits.

This comes weeks after the City of Smyrna, along with a few others around the state, voluntarily considered offering employee benefits to same-sex couples, though most have yet to issue a final decision.

Wind up the Liberty Drum…It will be interesting to see whether or not municipalities and counties eventually challenge the ruling -or the states do so on their behalf asserting sovereignty- or if this becomes the norm.

Ed August 27, 2014 at 8:46 am

In this instance, the federal government is on the liberty side by ensuring there’s no differential treatment of citizens (not saying anything about gay marriage one way or the other).

Anyway, this would not be a problem if we had some clause in the Constitution establishing supremacy of the federal government over the states…

penguin August 27, 2014 at 12:12 pm

It’s like you’re a lawyer Ed. Mentioning that pesky 14th Amendment and the Supremacy Clause. Also Full Faith & Credit. Damned Constitution, and constitutional body that has full authority to interpret said document, always getting in the way of liberty.

Ed August 27, 2014 at 12:29 pm


MattMD August 27, 2014 at 7:18 pm

Hey, what could possibly go wrong with some states, especially southern ones, asserting a little ‘ole sovereignty? Liberty ensues!

DAinGA August 27, 2014 at 11:28 am

Do you have a link to any article speaking about this? If so, can you post please? Thank you.

Lawton Sack August 27, 2014 at 4:38 pm
DAinGA August 28, 2014 at 1:41 pm

Thanks. I have a friend who is chair of a pension board and I wanted to pass this along to them.

saltycracker August 27, 2014 at 5:11 pm

Drum beat: grandfather in what it is today and tomorrow begin treating all adults as individuals.
Adult relationships are none of the governments business.

Harry August 27, 2014 at 8:06 pm

A constitutional amendment is needed in this country to define marriage as between a man and a woman.

Dave Bearse August 28, 2014 at 1:05 am

Corporations have or are already changing to accommodate a federally recognized marriage in their pension plans, which is why the focus is becoming federally regulated state and local government plans.

Time for another Hobby Lobby exemption?

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