Thursday, February 23, 2012

Defense of Marriage Act Ruled Unconstitutional; Wife of Lesbian Fed. Court Employee Gets Bendfits

The Washington Times website reports today (February 23, 2012) that a judge yesterday declared the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional, and ordered the federal government to ignore the statute and provide health benefits to the wife of a lesbian federal court employee.

The ruling -- by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White -- was the first since the Obama administration announced a year ago that it would no longer defend the law because it considered DOMA to be discriminatory against gays and lesbians.

White ordered the federal Office of Personnel Management to enroll the wife of Karen Golinski -- an attorney for the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals -- in the health benefits program available to other employees of the federal judiciary.

DOMA prohibits the extension of federal benefits to same-sex spouses, and Amy Cunninghis -- Golinski's wife -- had been repeatedly denied coverage since the couple "married" in 2008.