A federal district court judge in San Francisco, California ruled Tuesday that the denial of insurance benefits to same-sex spouses is discriminatory, according to Yahoo News.
The plaintiffs in the case were federal court law clerk Christopher Nathan, 39, and his spouse Thomas Alexander, 38.
The 2 were married in 2008, during the period of time that same-sex marriages were legal in California, as voters later approved Proposition 8, overturning the state Supreme Court ruling that had previously legalized same-sex marriages.
Nathan attempted to enroll Alexander in the federal government's health insurance plan, but was turned down because a federal statute enacted in 1996, known as the Defense of Marriage Act ("DOMA") , that bars federal recognition of same-sex marriages.
And, accordingly, the federal act rendered same-sex spouses ineligible to receive federal benefits through their spouse.
According to The San Francisco Chronicle, Chief U.S. District Judge James Ware, ruled that denial of insurance benefits discriminated both on the basis of sexual orientation and gender.
However, because Ware lacks the authority to force the courts' national office to provide insurance coverage to Alexander he ordered the chief clerk of the San Francisco federal court to reimburse Nathan for the past and future costs of buying insurance for his husband, the Chronicle reports.
The district court's decision in this case will likely be appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, where it could potentially be overturned. However, Ware's decision marks another important step in the fight for gay-rights and the realization of same-sex marriage as a fundamental right to all within this nation.
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