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Obama Administration Allows Lesbian Couples Partner Benefits

Obama Administration Allows Lesbian Couples Partner Benefits

 

In a first-of-its-kind move, the Obama administration’s Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has ordered a health insurer to provide benefits to a same-sex married couple.

Federal employee Karen Golinski and her wife Amy Cunninghis have been fighting the denial of benefits — because of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) — through the legal system for four years.

The order follows a February decision by a District Court Judge Jeffrey S. White, who ruled that DOMA “unconstitutionally discriminates against same-sex married couples.”

The policy reasons for adopting DOMA, taken from its 1996 legislative history in Congress, pointed to moral disapproval of gay people and their relationships as the main inspiration, the statute coming as a reaction to promising advances in same-sex marriage litigation in Hawaii.

Not rational

But as the 2003 ruling in the Supreme Court which struck down sodomy laws made clear, moral disapproval is an impermissible ground for government discrimination. White also found that the argument of limiting marriage to different-sex couples to steer procreation toward households headed by a father and a mother failed to survive even the rational basis test.

The Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) of the US House of Representatives, which is controlled by Republican Speaker John Boehner, intervened in the case in the wake of the Justice Department’s announcement last year it would no longer defend DOMA.

Lawyer Tara Borelli, with Lambda Legal, which represents the couple, told the Washington Post, “We’re thrilled for Karen and Amy who have been waiting for years for this equal treatment.”

In their letter to the insurer, Bluecross, the OPM said that its decision “has no effect on enrollments requested by other same-sex spouses.”

BLAG has filed an appeal in the Ninth Circuit, which the Department of Justice is seeking to speed up, calling the resolution of the case a “constitutional question of exceptional importance and urgency.”

 

Related stories:

Marriage Equality To Be Pushed in Washington, Not Yet in Oregon

House Likely to Intervene in Military DOMA Suit

DOMA Repeal Bill Still Gaining Sponsors

 


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Picture credit darcyandkat

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23 comments

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12:08AM PDT on Apr 1, 2012

Wonderful! Married is married! Only fair!

5:11AM PDT on Mar 29, 2012

And yet another reason why I love Obama! He's actually a good guy!

4:46AM PDT on Mar 29, 2012

Another reason to vote Obama this year

1:58AM PDT on Mar 29, 2012

A class in RESPECT AND RESPONSIBILITY should be taught from Grade one to graduation, children should be taught that anything is permissible as long as it does not hurt themselves or anybody else. Common sense would dictate that if children are taught at a very early age that every child has their own strengths and weaknesses and that they should use their strengths to help not tease or bully others. It should not matter if a child comes from a FAMILY of a mother and father, 2 mothers or 2 fathers or a single mother or father as long as they are LOVED.
Sex Education should be taught from LGBT, Contraceptives, Masturbation, Pregnancy and all forms of sex. Let us face it whether we like it or not children are curious and are having sex earlier and earlier. Children should be taught the joys and the consequences of having sex ( Pregnancy, STD, AIDS and others.) But you say when will this be taught. Cut out Geography or History early on then put it back in and remove Geometry or Algebra. They can learn this in college if needed. I believe this is a solution. Stopping the damage before it starts so that Bullying, Sexual Assault, and many others will be greatly diminished if not eradicated. It is my belief that when children graduate with these principals where they are taught RESPECT for themselves and others and to take RESPONSIBILITY for their actions. If children grow up with these principals I believe business and government would benefit greatly. Within a few generations

12:27AM PDT on Mar 29, 2012

Rita indiana talks about being a lesbian,family acceptance -http://liveoncampus.com/wire/show/3362548

12:27AM PDT on Mar 29, 2012

oh thats really good ! obama rocks! ;)

8:26PM PDT on Mar 28, 2012

Vote for Obama or we will be thrown under the rug...

7:39PM PDT on Mar 28, 2012

society chances and so should the laws

12:12PM PDT on Mar 28, 2012

YAY! Way to go President Obama!!! That's utilizing your political powers for justice for all!!! Next step equality across the U.S.--Umm..Yes please!!! =o)

11:38AM PDT on Mar 28, 2012

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