U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken of Oakland ruled Wednesday that California state employees can sue the federal government over their same-sex partners’ exclusion from long-term health care benefits, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.
The judge denied a request from Obama’s Department of Justice to dismiss the case, opening the floodgates for lawsuits from gay federal employees around the country.
Currently, federal employees can enroll in federally-approved long-term health care plans. Employees of the state can buy coverage at below-market rates, use untaxed income to pay premiums and deduct future benefits from their taxes.
The California agency has refused to sign up same-sex spouses because the Defense of Marriage Act denies federal tax benefits to any state that covers them.
Judge Wilken claimed that DOMA is “robbing states of the power to allow same-sex civil marriages that will be recognized under federal law” and made it clear she would be challenging parts of the law.
While this story doesn’t specifically address our personal stories, we thought it important to share the fact that a major decision was made Wednesday, that is in line with the decision of Judge Vaughn Walker’s which overturned California’s Proposition 8.
With more and more judicial challenges to the bigoted Defense of Marriage Act, it’s only a matter of time before we see it overturned in U.S. courts.