Federal Judge Finds Same-Sex Long-Term Care Ban Unconstitutional

U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken says she will likely overturn an aspect of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act that excludes California state employees who are in same-sex domestic partnerships from receiving federal tax benefits related to long-term health coverage as the law appears to be “motivated by antigay animus”. In a written statement, Wilken charges that Federal officials “have failed to show a plausible, legitimate rationale for excluding registered domestic partners from (the law’s) list of eligible family members (for the tax benefits), and the court can think of none.” Although Judge Wilken has indicated she is inclined to overturn the law, the ruling determined that the potential lawsuit can only proceed on behalf of spouses and registered domestic partners. President Obama has agreed the law is unconstitutional, and said he would no longer defend the law in court — a job that has now been assigned to lawyers hired by House Republican leaders. — Fatima Najiy