The DOL has today issued its final ruling to expand the definition of spouse under the FMLA. Following the United States v. Windsor case, the DOL adopted a proposed “State of Celebration” rule that recognizes same-sex marriages under the law of the state where the marriage was entered, instead of the law of the state of the employee’s residence.
Up until now, the term spouse was defined according to the law of the state in which an employee resided, rather than where the marriage was entered. The new definition of spouse will be based on the law in the country or state in which the marriage took place. So if a couple gets married in a state, or country that recognizes same-sex marriage, and returns to a state that does not, for FMLA purposes their marriage will be recognized.