Federal Judge in Gay and Lesbian State Employee Case Rules in Favor of Plaintiffs and Issues an Injunction
On Thursday, May 24, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California granted judgment in favor of gay and lesbian state workers who, together with their registered domestic partners, are excluded from equal access to California’s Long-Term Care Program.
Judge Claudia Wilken issued the ruling in Dragovich v. CalPERS, a class action lawsuit challenging federal and state laws including the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which regulate state-sponsored long-term care plans. These laws permit employees and an array of family members to join such plans, including opposite-sex spouses, but exclude the spouses and registered domestic partners of gay and lesbian workers. Judge Wilken found that the statutory preclusion of gay and lesbian spouses and partners violated the United States Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection.
“Lesbian and gay couples are entitled to fair and equal treatment from the federal government,” said Elizabeth Kristen of Legal Aid Society–Employment Law Center. “Judge Wilken’s ruling ensures that both same-sex spouses and registered domestic partners will be treated fairly with respect to the CalPERS long term care insurance program.”