Dragovich v. U.S. Dept. Treasury, complaint, No. 10-cv-01564 (N.D.Cal. Apr. 13, 2010)
(I owe a special thanks to site collaborator and California attorney Rick Xiao for alerting me to the filing and forwarding it.)
Yesterday, California public employees and their same-sex spouses brought a class action lawsuit against the IRS and the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS). Under state and federal laws, state employees can not enroll their same-sex spouses and domestic partners in the CalPERS Long Term Care (LTC) program. Plaintiff couples want the U.S. District Court to declare that the laws are unconsitutional, and they want to bar the state government from continuing its exclusion of all other same-sex couples in the same situation.
Section 3 of the federal DOMA (codified at 1 U.S.C. § 7) limits federal definitions of "marriage" and "spouse" to the " legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife." Under the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. §7702B(f)1-2), state government employers may qualify for tax-sheltered treatment of their long term care programs. But "qualified" plans must adhere to the federal definition of spouses. To retain LTC's federally tax-sheltered status, CalPERS by law (Cal. Fam. Code §297.5(g)) follows the federal definition and excludes same-sex spouses and domestic partners of state employees. Because the applicable state and federal laws conform to this federal definition, state employees can not enroll their same-sex spouses and domestic partners in the CalPERS Long Term Care (LTC) program. As a result, their employer deprives these couples access to a vital benefit that protects them and the public interest. Plaintiff couples seek a declaration that the federal and state laws at issue violate due process to excluded couples under the 5th and 14th Amendments, and equal protection under the 14th Amendment. They also seek injunctive relief.
Dragovich v. U.S. Dept. Treasury now joins several other prominent legal challenges (here and here) to the federal DOMA. AP covers the case here.
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