A Federal judge in San Francisco ruled that the U.S. government cannot deny health benefits to the wife of a lesbian court employee by relying on legislation from 1996 that bars government recognition of same-sex unions, The Associated Press reported.
According to the news outlet, U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White said that because the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) discriminates against same-sex married couples, the government’s refusal to give health insurance to the wife of Karen Golinski is unjustified.
“The Court finds that DOMA, as applied to Ms. Golinski, violates her right to equal protection of the law … by, without substantial justification or rational basis, refusing to recognize her lawful marriage to prevent provision of health insurance coverage to her spouse,” White said in his decision.
The AP reported that Golinski, a staff lawyer for the 9th Circuit, has been trying to get spousal benefits for her wife since 2008.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported that DOMA was signed into law by former President Bill Clinton, and denies joint tax filing, Social Security survivors’ benefits and hundreds of other marital rights to same-sex partners.