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OPM Proposes New Definition of ‘Spouse’ as it Relates to Federal Benefits

In response to the announcement from the Obama Administration that it is extending marriage benefits to same sex couples, the Office of Personnel Management has proposed changing the definition of spouse for the purposes of providing federal benefits.

In response to the announcement from the Obama Administration that it is extending marriage benefits to same sex couples, the Office of Personnel Management has proposed changing the definition of spouse for the purposes of providing federal benefits.

In a proposed rule in the Federal Register, OPM said a new definition of spouse would replace the old definition which currently reads, “a legal union between one man and one woman.”

The full proposal from the Federal Register is included below.

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is proposing to revise the definition of spouse in its regulations on the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) as a result of the decision by the United States Supreme Court holding Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional. The new definition will replace the existing definition, which contains language from DOMA that refers to “a legal union between one man and one woman.” The new definition permits Federal employees with same-sex spouses to use FMLA leave in the same manner as Federal employees with opposite-sex spouses.

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Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He enjoys writing about current topics that affect the federal workforce.