Friday, September 29, 2023
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Judge Says Lesbian Att’y Can Get Spousal Benefits

(CN) - The 9th Circuit ruled again that a married lesbian attorney can apply for health insurance benefits for her wife after the office of personnel management sabotaged the attorney's application. In a previous ruling, Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski found that Karen Golinski was eligible to seek health benefits for her wife and issued a court order under the employee dispute resolution plan.

But the office of personnel management intercepted Golinski's health insurance forms and told Golinski's provider Blue Cross Blue Shield that providing coverage to Golinski and her wife would violate the Defense of Marriage Act. The personnel office was wrong to intervene, Kozinski ruled, and ordered that the office rescind its directive to Blue Cross Blue Shield claiming that Golinski is not eligible for spousal health benefits.

Kozinski found that the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program "permits judicial employees to provide health insurance coverage to their same-sex spouse" and ordered Golinski's forms be reprocessed "without regard to the sex of a listed spouse."

Kozinski said Golinski's wife should be enrolled in "the same program an opposite-sex spouse would enjoy."

Kozinski also granted Golinski a monetary award under the Back Pay Act to cover health insurance benefits her wife would have received if the personnel office had not intervened.

Kozinski odered the administrative office to resubmit Golinski's health benefits forms and instructed the personnel office to not get involved.

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