Thursday, January 05, 2017

4th Circuit Upholds City Policy Requiring Civil Marriage Certificate To Get Spousal Health Care

In Abdus-Shahid v. Mayor & City Council of Baltimore, (4th Cir., Jan. 4, 2017), the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Baltimore's policy of requiring city employees to submit proof of their recorded civil marriage certificate to establish a spouse as eligible for health insurance coverage. Plaintiff, a civil engineer employed by the city's Department of Transportation married his wife in an Islamic religious ceremony. They did not obtain a civil marriage license, claiming that to do so would be contrary to their religious beliefs.  The court rejected plaintiff's 1st Amendment free exercise claim, as well as his state constitutional and Title VII claims.