Thursday, February 5, 2009

Federal workers win benefits for same-sex spouses in 9th Circuit Court ruling

(H/T Think Progress)

The ABA Journal reports, “Two federal judges on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals have required payment of health insurance benefits to same-sex spouses of lawyers employed by the U.S. government.” Judge Stephen Reinhardt declared that the federal Defense of Marriage Act — which denies federal recognize of same-sex marriages — is unconstitutional. From Reinhardt’s Feb. 2 order:

The denial of federal benefits to same-sex spouses cannot be justified simply by a distaste for or disapproval of same-sex marriage or a desire to deprive same-sex spouses benefits available to other spouses in order to discourage exercising a legal right afforded them by the state.

A lawyer for the federal staff attorney “said this is believed to be the first time federal employees will get benefits covering a same-sex spouse.”

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