Judge Tosses Out Lawyer’s Suit over Same Gender Spouse Benefits

March 17, 2011 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – A lesbian federal employee suing over the eligibility for health insurance for a same-sex spouse has lost a round when a federal judge in California threw out her case on technical grounds.

However, according to Reuters, U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California still permitted plaintiff Karen Golinski to refile her complaint to directly challenge the constitutionality of the federal government’s denial of her benefits request (see Lawyer Sues Fed over Same-Sex Benefits).

The ruling came after government lawyers argued that Golinski’s lawsuit was improperly drafted for the ultimate purpose of enforcing an order by Chief Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, where Golinski works, for the insurance carrier to pay the requested benefits (see 9th Circuit Jurists in Standoff with Fed Agency).

Reuters said the government has been opposing Golinski’s suit even though it recently decided that the federal statute declaring that marriage is a union between one man and one woman is unconstitutional (see Department of Justice to no Longer Defend DOMA).

Jennifer Pizer, a lawyer for Golinski, said they would submit new arguments by April 15, along the lines White described.