Same-Sex Couple Wins Federal Health Insurance

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ordered that one of its own staff attorneys, Karen Golinski, be allowed to enroll her same-sex spouse in the federal employee family health insurance plan in an order published Thursday.

The action came in response to last month’s U.S. Supreme Court’s decision declaring section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, DOMA, unconstitutional.

Golinski married her partner Amy Cunninghis in 2008 in California during a brief window when it was still legal for same-sex partners to wed.

She asked then to add her partner to the federal health plan, but while Chief Judge Alex Kozinski said she should be permitted to enroll, the Office of Personnel Management refused, citing DOMA.

The 9th Circuit then declared Section 3 of DOMA an unconstitutional violation of equal protection, but the case was held in abeyance in 2012 to await the Supreme Court decision.

Last month, the high court ruling in U.S. v. Windsor, just as the 9th Circuit did, that DOMA’s Section 3 “is unconstitutional as a deprivation of liberty of the person protected by the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution.”

The action by the 9th Circuit came July 23, but was not published until Thursday.  It dismisses the appeal and clears the way for Golinski to add her wife to the federal health insurance plan.

Case:  Golinski v. US Office of Personnel Management, No. 12-15388


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