Federal judge rules denial of health coverage to same-sex spouse unconstitutional


For a Free Scotland
A federal judge has deemed unconstitutional the government’s denial of healthcare coverage and other benefits to the same-sex spouse of a Los Angeles public defender, calling into question the validity of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.

9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Stephen Reinhardt said the federal government’s refusal to grant spousal benefits to Tony Sears, the husband of deputy federal public defender Brad Levenson, amounted to unlawful discrimination on the basis of sex and sexual orientation.

“Because there is no rational basis for denying benefits to the same-sex spouses of [Federal Public Defender] employees while granting them to the opposite-sex spouses of FPD employees, I conclude that the application of [federal statutes] so as to reach that result is unconstitutional,” Reinhardt wrote in an order to the U.S. Courts administration to submit Levenson’s benefits election form. The ruling was issued Monday and published Wednesday.

“The denial of federal benefits to same-sex spouses cannot be justified simply by a distaste for or disapproval of same-sex marriage or a desire to deprive same-sex spouses of benefits available to other spouses in order to discourage them from exercising a legal right afforded them by a state,” Reinhardt wrote.
Federal judge rules denial of health coverage to same-sex spouse unconstitutional | L.A. Now | Los Angeles Times

Thoughts? Legal opinions?


Registered Member
I don't think the 9th Circuit Court gets to decide to overturn DOMA - their just a necessary step on the way to the Supreme Court.

Although it seems a little absurd that any time I hear about a ruling like this, if it's on the state level, I assume it's CA, and if it's on the circuit court level, I assume it's the 9th. Admittedly, I probably hear about them more since I live on the West coast, but still, it seems not quite right that those courts would have such a reputation for voting in a certain manner. They stick out.
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Registered Member
I don't agree with same sex marriages, but I do believe in civil unions, giving same sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples.


For a Free Scotland
The DOMA gives gay couples in civil unions or even full state-sanctioned marriages about 1,000 fewer rights- which seems that in the next couple years will lead to a Supreme Court fight involving the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment.