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  TODAY'S BUZZ

U.S. District Court hears arguments challenging constitutionality of DOMA
Federal employee's equal health coverage claim could hasten demise of statute
2011-12-15

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FROM A NEWS RELEASE

(San Francisco, December 14, 2011) - The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California will hear oral arguments this Friday, December 16, in the case brought by Lambda Legal and Morrison & Foerster challenging the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

Friday's hearing in the case Golinski v. U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is the latest chapter in the long struggle of Karen Golinski, an employee of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, to receive the same spousal health coverage for her wife, Amy Cunninghis, as her married heterosexual co-workers receive.

WHEN: 9:00 a.m., Friday, December 16, 2011

WHERE: U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California

450 Golden Gate Ave., San Francisco, CA 94102

Courtroom 11, 19th Floor

WHO: Tara Borelli, Staff Attorney, Lambda Legal

Rita Lin, Associate, Morrison & Foerster LLP

Karen Golinski, Plaintiff

Friday's hearing concerns the amended complaint Lambda Legal and Morrison & Foerster filed in April on Golinski's behalf that directly challenges the constitutionality of DOMA. The lawsuit argues that the government's reliance on DOMA to bar equal spousal insurance coverage for Golinski, a 20-year employee of the Ninth Circuit, violates the equal protection and due process guarantees of the U.S. Constitution. Shortly before the filing of the amended complaint, President Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that they believe DOMA to be unconstitutional and the administration would no longer defend DOMA in court, and the majority leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives hired outside counsel to defend the statute. Friday's arguments involve an attempt by the defenders of DOMA to get the case dismissed, and Golinski's request that the court issue a final judgment in her favor, declaring DOMA unconstitutional and ordering that Golinski be allowed to enroll her spouse in her family health care plan, as her married heterosexual co-workers are permitted to do.

Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.


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