Defense Of Marriage Act Ruled Unconstitutional By Second Judge In California
A second federal judge has ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act in California is unconstitutional.
U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken made the ruling, and stated that the Act, which was passed in 1996, violates constitutional standards, because it denies federal benefits to same-sex spouses married under California law, according to The Huffington Post.
The law also bars domestic partners of state workers from receiving long-term health coverage. Wilken has stated in the ruling that both laws were based on “moral condemnation” of same-sex couples.
The Christian Science Monitor reports that Brian Moulton, legal director for the Human Rights Campaign, a Washington-based gay-rights organization, stated:
“It wasn’t a revolutionary decision by any stretch…but the fact we have yet another judge ruling on DOMA, it’s a constant drum beat at this point, and we’ll see what Supreme Court has to say about it. Sooner rather than later.”
The Washington Post reports that Wilken wrote in her order, which requires the California Public Employees’ Retirement System to allow current and former state employees to enroll theyr same-sex spouses and partners in the state’s offered extended care plan, that:
“Congress’s restriction on state-maintained long-term care plans lacks any rational relationship to a legitimate government interest, but rather appears to be motivated by antigay animus.”
Elizabeth Kristen of Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center, who sued the U.S. Treasury Department and California’s pension plan two years ago on behalf of three same-sex couples stated according to The Washington Post that:
“Lesbian and gay couples are entitled to fair and equal treatment from the federal government. Judge Wilken’s ruling ensures that both same-sex spouses and registered domestic partners will be treated fairly with respect to the CalPERS long-term care insurance program.”
A San Fransisco judge declared the federal law unconstitutional in February during a separate case. The ruling is under appeal, according to The Huffington Post, and it is set to go before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in September.