Monday, May 28, 2012

District Court Invalidates DOMA and Related Care Insurance Restrictions

In Dragovich v. U.S. Department of the Treasury, (ND CA, May 24, 2012), a California federal district court held unconstitutional Sec. 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act and federal provisions (26 USC Sec. 7702B(f)) that effectively bar states from permitting same-sex domestic partners or same-sex spouses from participating in state-maintained long-term care insurance policies. DOMA was defended by the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the United States House of Representatives (BLAG) since the administration refused to defend its constitutionality.  In striking down the provisions, the court said in part:
the legislative record contains evidence of anti-gay animus and the BLAG has failed to establish that § 3 of the DOMA is rationally related to a legitimate government interest.  Accordingly, Plaintiff same-sex spouses are entitled to summary judgment that § 3 of the DOMA is invalid under the Constitution’s equal protection principles to the extent that the law blocks their access to the CalPERS long-term care plan....
Because 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, the exclusion of registered domestic partners of public employees from § 7702B(f)’s list of individuals eligible to enroll in state-maintained long-term care plans violates the Constitution’s equal protection guarantee.
Metro Weekly reports on the decision.