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Withholding ERISA benefits from same-gender spouses

HB 3890 – Stephenson
In 1973 the federal government passed the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), which regulates and oversees most pension plans to ensure that promises made by employers to employees regarding their retirement and benefits are kept. In its ruling in Windsor the Supreme Court found the law prohibiting the federal government from recognizing marriages between two people of the same gender unconstitutional. The federal government is now required to recognize all marriages legally entered into in a state that recognize them. Since ERISA is federal law, most ERISA regulations governing the recognition of spouses must now recognize all legal marriages. This applies to some pension plans that are governed by legal entities such as cities and counties in Texas. HB 3890 is an attempt to supersede federal law at the state level and exempt ERISA-governed pension plans administered by governmental entities in Texas from the requirement to recognize all legal marriages.