Gay Spouse Given Health Benefits in U.S. Court Case
Another milestone in the civil rights cause of this century.
A U.S. judge on Wednesday ruled the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional and said a federal government worker should be allowed to enroll her same-sex spouse in her health insurance coverage, the latest rebuke of a law reviled by gay rights activists.
The ruling came from U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White in San Francisco who was appointed by Republican President George W. Bush.
Congress passed DOMA in 1996 and President Bill Clinton signed it into law. It prevents same-sex couples who are legally married in a handful of states from enjoying more than 1,000 federal benefits awarded to heterosexual married couples.
Rita Lin, an attorney for the plaintiff, said on Wednesday that White’s ruling could have wide implications for same-sex couples in areas like tax and pension benefits.
“The reasoning of the opinion applies to anyone who has been discriminated against under DOMA,” Lin said.
Attorneys for the House of Representatives could not immediately be reached for comment.
Plaintiff Karen Golinski has worked as a staff attorney for the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco for over 20 years.
She sued the U.S. government after it refused to enroll her spouse, Amy Cunninghis, on her federal family health insurance plan. The couple married during a five-month legal window in California before voters in 2008 passed Proposition 8, a gay marriage ban.