Thursday, February 05, 2009

Denial of health benefits to CA gay couple unconstitutional (9th Circuit)


9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Stephen Reinhardt has ruled that the federal government’s refusal to extend health care benefits to the male domestic partner of a public defender Brad Levenson, is unlawful discrimination on the basis of both sex and sexual orientation. The partner was legally married during the five-month period while same-sex marriage was recognized in California, before the passage of Proposition 8. It’s also logical to wonder if the case could challenge the idea of the law applying “retroactively” to marriages entered during that period.

The story appears in the Los Angeles Times blogs today, here. The article contains a large part of the text of the opinion.

The ruling appears not to be a formal opinion, but to come from the 9th Circuit’s Standing Committee on Federal Public Defenders.

There are some comments to the effect that the Judge’s reasoning could challenge the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, signed by President Clinton.

The comments are quite varied, to say the least. One disapproves of government benefits to married persons. Another goes into a typical harangue about “nature.”

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