Here in the great state of New York, marriage equality is the order of the day — as it is in five other states, plus D.C.. But due to the Defense of Marriage Act, the federal tax code does not recognize same-sex unions. As a result, as explained by the law firm of McCarter & English, “the Internal Revenue Code treats the value of employer-provided healthcare benefits for a civil union or domestic partner as ‘imputed income’ to the employee. This means that employees who elect domestic partner benefits must pay income tax on the value of those benefits, which is in direct contrast to employees with different-sex spouses.”

To address this inequality, a number of law firms — including McCarter & English, as of this June — have adopted what we here at Above the Law have dubbed the “gay gross-up.” This benefit consists of “a bump in income such that, post-tax, the employees are in the same position as similarly situated employees electing healthcare benefits for their opposite-sex spouses.”

In addition to McCarter, a number of prominent law firms have adopted this policy since our last report. Let’s find out which ones….

UPDATE (8/25/11): We’ve added to the list since it was originally published. See the updated list below.

Here are the five firms we’ve added to our list:

  • Cleary Gottlieb
  • Cooley
  • Friedman Kaplan
  • McCarter & English
  • O’Melveny & Myers

UPDATE (8/24/11, 1:45 PM): Make that six new firms. Please welcome Weil Gotshal to the club.

UPDATE (8/25/11, 6:05 PM): Another addition: SNR Denton.

And here is the updated, complete list of firms offering the gay gross-up — or the “tax offset for domestic partner health benefits,” if you prefer:

Please email us, subject line “Gay Gross-Up,” with corrections or additions to our list. Thanks!

P.S. The New York Times also tracks which firms have made this commitment to LGBT workplace equality. If you’d like to see your frim on the NYT list, please contact Tara Siegel Bernard.

McCarter & English Provides Employees Tax Offsets for Domestic Partner Health Benefits [NJ.com (press release)]
Winston & Strawn Initiates A Diversity Manager Position to Help Create New Programs, Implement Best Practices [PR Newswire (press release)]
For Gay Employees, an Equalizer [New York Times]
A Progress Report on Gay Employee Health Benefits [Bucks / New York Times]

Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of the gay gross-up


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