Ruling in Calif. Sets up Battle Over Federal Defense of Marriage Act

By:  Dave Bohon
02/27/2012
       
Ruling in Calif. Sets up Battle Over Federal Defense of Marriage Act

Sixteen years after President Bill Clinton signed it into law, and 12 months after President Obama ordered the Department of Justice to stop defending it, a federal judge in San Francisco ruled Wednesday that the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional because it bars health insurance and other benefits from being extended to the same-sex partners of government employees. DOMA defines marriage as the legal union of only a man and a woman for purposes of federal business.

Sixteen years after President Bill Clinton signed it into law, and 12 months after President Obama ordered the Department of Justice to stop defending it, a federal judge in San Francisco ruled Wednesday that the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional because it bars health insurance and other benefits from being extended to the same-sex partners of government employees. DOMA defines marriage as the legal union of only a man and a woman for purposes of federal business.

 As reported by UPI News, U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey White ordered the federal Office of Personnel Management to enroll the “wife” of lesbian Karen Golinski, an attorney for the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in the health benefits program that is offered to federal judiciary employees and their spouses.
 
According to Reuters, Golinski “married” her lesbian partner, Amy Cunninghis, after California legalized homosexual “marriage” but before that state’s voters passed Proposition 8, which stipulates that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”
 
White determined in his ruling that “DOMA, as applied to Ms. Golinski, violates her right to equal protection of the law under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution by, without substantial justification or rational basis, refusing to recognize her lawful marriage to prevent provision of health insurance coverage to her spouse.”

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