Discrimination on the basis of sex and sexual orientation

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Discrimination on the basis of sex and sexual orientation

Post  lisa1880 on Sat 07 Feb 2009, 8:06 am

9th Circuit rulings touch on DOMA's constitutionality
Charlie Butts and Jody Brown - OneNewsNow




Two administrative judges on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in California have ruled the U.S. government must pay health benefits to the same-sex partners of two federal lawyers -- one of whom is on the 9th Circuit's staff.

In one of the rulings, Judge Stephen Reinhardt stated that the government's refusal to grant those benefits amounted to unlawful discrimination on the basis of sex and sexual orientation. Neither a "distaste for or disapproval of same-sex marriage" justifies denial of federal benefits, Reinhardt stated. Chief Judge Alex Kozinski issued the ruling in the other case.

According to Brad Dacus of the Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), there is another interesting part of the rulings. "The 9th Circuit judges in that administrative matter ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act [DOMA] was unconstitutional and that it had no rational basis," he explains.

Dacus suggests that is not a role for federal judges because it usurps authority of another branch of government.

"Unfortunately the 9th Circuit has refused to respect the legislative branch and its authority to decide how benefits are to be given and appropriated," says the PJI president.

The ruling only impacts the two federal employees involved in the administrative action, and likely will be appealed. But it does fit into President Obama's plan for DOMA, says Dacus.

"This action by these two 9th Circuit justices will only give greater momentum to efforts on Capitol Hill to reverse DOMA and to start requiring federal taxpayer dollars to subsidize homosexual relationships," he laments.

Indeed, an attorney with Lambda Legal -- a pro-homosexual legal group -- told the Daily Journal in California that the judges' orders will become part of her group's "national conversation" on behalf of same-sex couples.

One News Now

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