CalPERS offering domestic partner benefits to gay couples

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Long term care insurance is now available to same sex partners.

The largest public pension fund in the United States, CalPERS, has just been ordered to make its long term care insurance program available as a part of the California workers domestic partner benefits, following a significant gay rights case in the state.

An Oakland federal judge eliminated certain elements of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which had previously made it impossible for same-sex spouses from qualifying for the California Public Employees’ Retirement System.

U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken made her ruling on May 24, 2012.

She explained her decision by stating that the ban that had been in place did not serve any “legitimate government interest” and that she felt that it had apparently been “motivated by anti-gay animus.”

CalPERS has announced that it is very happy with the ruling, stating that it has been keen to extend the insurance coverage to same sex couples, but that the federal regulations and laws had been preventing them from being able to do so. There are currently approximately 160,000 workers across California that have purchased long term insurance from that agency.

According to a prepared statement made by Anne Stausboll, the chief executive officer at CalPERS, “We have been strongly advocating for the ability to administer our program for same-sex spouses and domestic partners.”

It isn’t yet known when CalPERS will begin offering its domestic partner benefits. However, an Arizona group against gay marriage called the Alliance Defense Fund has asserted that the ruling made by the judge will be appealed. This could mean that the current regulations will be held over a number of months, or perhaps even years. Legal counsel for the group, Dale Schowengerdt, said that this case will, at some point, find itself before the supreme court, and that the group is both hopeful and confident that the current law will be held in place.

The arm of Congress called the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, which is lead by John Boehner, the Republican House Speaker, has also been defending the existing regulations and has intervened in the domestic partner benefits case. Its lawyers, however, did not make themselves available at the time in order to make a comment.

 

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