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The University of Notre Dame, one of the largest Catholic Church-affiliated colleges in the United States, has announced that it will extend spousal benefits to married same-sex couples under its employee health care and retirement plans.
Faculty and employees of the South Bend, Indiana-based college were informed via email on Oct. 9 that the university would “immediately” update eligibility rules under its employee benefit plans, following the U.S. Supreme Court's recent denial of appeals to federal court rulings legalizing same-sex marriage in five states, including Indiana.
“This means that the law in Indiana now recognizes same-sex marriages, and the University will extend benefits to all legally married spouses, including same-sex spouses,” the university's Office of Human Resources said in its email notification to employees. “Notre Dame is a Catholic university and endorses a Catholic view of marriage. However, it will follow the relevant civil law and begin to implement this change immediately.”
Notre Dame was one of two Catholic-affiliated colleges in South Bend to announce changes to its benefits program in the wake of the Supreme Court's Oct. 6 decision, which effectively legalized same-sex marriage in Indiana, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Utah and Virginia. St. Mary's College, the women's sister college of Notre Dame, also plans to expand eligibility for spousal benefits to include married gay and lesbian couples, a spokesman for the college said in an email to Business Insurance.
A group of national and regional employers has urged a judicial panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans to uphold same-sex couples' right to legally marry in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.