Give in on same-sex benefits, judge orders feds – San Francisco Chronicle (11/19/09):
The chief federal appeals court judge in San Francisco bluntly ordered the Obama administration Thursday to stop resisting his finding that the wife of a lesbian court employee was entitled to government insurance coverage.
The federal agency that oversees benefits for government employees “shall cease at once its interference with the jurisdiction of this tribunal,” Judge Alex Kozinski said in response to the Office of Personnel Management’s rejection of his earlier ruling in the case.
He told the agency to let Karen Golinski, a staff attorney at the court’s headquarters in San Francisco, enroll her wife, Amy Cunninghis, in the family health plan that already covers their 6-year-old son.
He also ordered court officials to reimburse Golinski for the costs of buying insurance for Cunninghis since she applied for coverage in September 2008. That coverage now costs $429 a month, Golinski’s lawyer said.
It was the second order from a Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judge in two days rebuking the Office of Personnel Management for denying insurance coverage to the same-sex spouses of court-supervised employees. The agency, whose director was appointed by President Obama, intervened in both cases in February and invoked the Defense of Marriage Act, a 1996 law that bars federal marriage benefits to same-sex couples.
But Obama is your fierce advocate, right? Right?