DOMA Cited in Decision for SF Gay Couple in Insurance Case

The Judicial Council of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dealt another blow to DOMA last week, ordering San Francisco's federal court to pay an employee's costs for insurance coverage for his husband.

NathanThe SF Chronicle reports:

In the insurance case, Christopher Nathan, 39, of San Francisco, a law clerk for U.S. Magistrate Maria Elena James, sought coverage for his spouse, Thomas Alexander, 40. The couple wed in 2008, in a ceremony performed by James, before Proposition 8 prohibited same-sex marriages in California.

When Nathan tried to enroll Alexander in the government's insurance plan, he was turned down by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts because the 1996 law bars federal recognition of same-sex unions.

In April, Chief U.S. District Judge James Ware said the denial violated the federal court's rules against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender, and ordered the court to reimburse Nathan for the costs of buying private insurance.

The Judicial Council, the final authority in the administrative review process, went a step further in this week's order and said DOMA has been held unconstitutional by a San Francisco federal judge in another employee's case. The three-judge panel ordered the court to determine how much it owes Nathan and then pay him within 10 days.

And, of course, this Friday we will be hearing from SCOTUS on whether or not they will consider a handful of DOMA cases and/or the federal challenge to California's Proposition 8.

Posted November 26, 2012 at 7:09am ETC by Andy Towle
in California, DOMA, News