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Fri Jan 27, 2012, 12:45 PM

FEDERAL JUDGE FINDS SAME-SEX LONG-TERM CARE BAN UNCONSTITUTIONAL

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

http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2012/01/27/413265/federal-judge-finds-same-sex-long-term-care-ban-unconstitutional/

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A federal judge signaled Thursday that she's likely to strike down a federal law that denies long-term health coverage to the same-sex domestic partners of state employees in California, saying it appears to be based on prejudice against gays and lesbians.

U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken of Oakland said domestic partners could join a lawsuit challenging an aspect of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act - its exclusion of same-sex couples from federal tax benefits that are essential to participation in a long-term health care program for state employees.

The suit is one of two in Bay Area federal courts challenging the 1996 law, which denies federal marital benefits to same-sex spouses.

President Obama said in February 2011 that he considered the law unconstitutional and would no longer defend it in court, a role now assigned to lawyers hired by House Republican leaders.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/01/26/BA631MV73C.DTL#ixzz1kg5KROOz


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Reply FEDERAL JUDGE FINDS SAME-SEX LONG-TERM CARE BAN UNCONSTITUTIONAL (Original post)
kpete Jan 2012 OP
msanthrope Jan 2012 #1
FredStembottom Jan 2012 #2
obamanut2012 Jan 2012 #3
xchrom Jan 2012 #4
SoapBox Jan 2012 #5
X_Digger Jan 2012 #6
William769 Jan 2012 #7
mopinko Jan 2012 #8
Guilded Lilly Jan 2012 #9
madrchsod Jan 2012 #10
MNBrewer Jan 2012 #11
Jefferson23 Jan 2012 #12
Dollface Jan 2012 #13
TahitiNut Jan 2012 #14
bigwillq Jan 2012 #15
Guy Montag Jan 2012 #16
saras Jan 2012 #17

Response to kpete (Original post)

Fri Jan 27, 2012, 12:48 PM

1. Good for Eric Holder--this is vindication of his decision to drop defense of this section of DOMA.

 

And the House Republicans apparently couldn't find competent counsel to defend it, either.

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Fri Jan 27, 2012, 12:53 PM

2. Excellent news!

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Fri Jan 27, 2012, 12:55 PM

3. Excellent!

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Fri Jan 27, 2012, 12:58 PM

4. excellent. nt

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Fri Jan 27, 2012, 01:13 PM

5. Way cool...

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Fri Jan 27, 2012, 01:37 PM

6. Awesome!! n/t

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Fri Jan 27, 2012, 01:44 PM

7. Recommended.

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Fri Jan 27, 2012, 01:45 PM

8. that obama. he's just another republican.

 

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Fri Jan 27, 2012, 01:47 PM

9. Great news! At least some in this country are acting human among some ugly anti-human behavior

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Fri Jan 27, 2012, 01:53 PM

10. "...don`t let nobody turn you around..."

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Fri Jan 27, 2012, 01:53 PM

11. Three cheers for an independent judiciary!!

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Fri Jan 27, 2012, 06:50 PM

12. Highly recommend. n/t

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Fri Jan 27, 2012, 07:17 PM

13. I was just thinking...

I feel naive asking this but are there hetero domestics partners? If so, are they treated differently? If there aren't any then having engaged, hetero, couples register as domestic partners instead of getting a marriage license would be an interesting way to test the system.

If they are denied rights because they aren't "married" then it destroys the "domestic partnerships are equivalent to marriage" argument. (I don't argue that but I've heard it.)

If they are allowed rights such as health-care coverage then it shows that a denial of these rights to gay and lesbian partners is the result of anti-gay bias.

I know it is not as simple as all that but it could produce some interesting outcomes. I'd do it myself but I've been married for a really long time.

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Response to Dollface (Reply #13)

Fri Jan 27, 2012, 07:28 PM

14. "... but I've been married for a really long time."

Yeah. It always seems that way, doesn't it?


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Response to kpete (Original post)

Fri Jan 27, 2012, 07:34 PM

15. Cool.

 

K and R

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Sat Jan 28, 2012, 12:37 PM

16. It's about time.

Fantastic news. +1

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Response to kpete (Original post)

Sun Jan 29, 2012, 03:19 PM

17. It is a fairly clear statement of principle, something direly needed, in large quantities.

 

The judge states clearly that "antigay animus" and "prejudice against gays and lesbians" are NOT "plausible, legitimate rationale(s)" for legal restrictions.

This statement, or some equivalent, needs to get embedded in case law, over and over, in order to enforce the constitutional interpretation, Whenever a similar anti-gay law comes up for review, if there is such a statement in available case law, it is an easier job for the judge than appealing to the constitution each time.

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