Federal Judge Orders Court To Cover Costs Of Same-Sex Benefits

Acting as administrator of the court’s employee dispute-resolution program, Chief U.S. District Judge James Ware ruled that the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts violated its guarantee of a “discrimination-free workplace” when it denied insurance benefits to an employee’s same-sex spouse. He could not force the court’s national office to provide the insurance directly, but did order that law clerk Christopher Nathan be reimbursed for all past and future costs for his husband’s insurance. Because of the conflict between this directive and the Defense of Marriage Act, this creates a bit of a conundrum for the court, one which will ultimately be resolved in the similar lawsuitGolinski v. United States Office of Personnel Management.