On November 19, 2009, a judge for the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ordered the director of the Administrative Office of the US Courts (AO) to provide health benefits to the same-sex spouse of federal employee, Karen Golinski. She filed a lawsuit against the federal government for preventing the addition of her spouse to her family health plan. She was married during the six-month period when same-sex marriage licenses were granted under California law. Director of the AO cited the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) when he refused to certify Golinski's benefits. Judge Alex Kozinski rejected that argument and ruled that the Federal Employee Health Benefits Act "permit[s] the coverage of same-sex spouses." However, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) refused to comply with the order, prompting another lawsuit that was filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California.
Learn more about the laws governing same-sex marriage from the JURIST news archive, and read commentary on the issue from JURIST Guest Columnist Robert Pfister in Sidebar.