Organization Information

Ethics Office

Same-Sex Marriages and Federal Ethics Rules

Following last June’s Supreme Court decision on the Defense of Marriage Act, the federal ethics rules will now apply to employees in same-sex marriages in the same way that they apply to all married employees.

The ethics rules affect married employees in a number of ways. Every employee required to file a public or confidential financial disclosure report must include the spouse’s finances on the next report. In addition, a spouse’s financial interests are treated as if they were the employee’s under the conflict of interest laws. For example, an employee may not work on any assignments that will affect the spouse’s financial interests.

The criminal conflict-of-interest statutes and the financial disclosure reporting requirements do not apply in the same manner to employees in domestic partnerships or civil unions. However, employees in these kinds of relationships still might be disqualified from working on assignments affecting their partners or members of their households.

Anyone with questions about the ethics rules that apply to married employees should contact the Ethics Office at 202-268-6346 or send an email to