Pa. same-sex partner ruling raises pension issues

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A federal judge in Pennsylvania is granting retirement benefits to the female spouse of a woman who died three years ago in Illinois.

The case raises questions about the implications of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent gay marriage decision.

Judge Darnell Jones in Philadelphia ruled Monday that a 2006 Canadian marriage license and residence in a state that permits civil unions means Jennifer Tobits should collect about $40,000 earned by her late wife, Sarah Ellyn Farley.

Farley’s parents pressed a claim for the profit-sharing proceeds from the Philadelphia law firm that employed her in Chicago.

Jones says the Supreme Court’s determination that the federal Defense of Marriage Act isn’t constitutional means Tobits qualifies as a surviving spouse under federal retirement benefits law.

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