Division of Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation (DEEOIC)
DEEOIC Recognizes Same-Sex Spouses
On June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Windsor that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. Section 3 provided that, in any federal statute, the term “marriage” meant a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and that the term “spouse” referred only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife. In light of the Supreme Court’s decision in Windsor, the Division of Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation (DEEOIC) issued Circular No.14-06 to provide guidance to claims examiners on the meaning of the terms “marriage,” “spouse,” “husband,” “wife,” and any other term related to marital status as they appear in the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act and the Program’s regulations and policies.
For purposes of EEOICPA, the terms “spouse,” “husband,” and “wife” will be read to refer to any individual who is lawfully married under any state law. The terms “married,” “marriage,” and any other term related to marital status will be read to include a same-sex marriage valid in the state where it was celebrated.
DEEOIC has always allowed survivors to prove the existence of an opposite-sex marriage by submitting a copy of a valid marriage certificate issued by the state of celebration. This practice will now be applied to same-sex marriages in the same manner it has been applied to opposite-sex marriages.
Excerpt from EEOICPA CIRCULAR NO.14-06