In this action, plaintiff Karen Golinski challenges federal
her as a lesbian married to someone of the same sex, and the harm that such discrimination
her and her family.
Plaintiff is a citizen of the State of California and of the United States of America.
She is legally
married to a person of the same sex in accordance with California law.
The federal government does not license marriages, but many of its programs
marital status into account to
determine eligibility for federal benefits, protections and
Statutes, precedent, and principles of federalism establish that state law is thetouchstone for determining a couple’s marital status when establishing eligibility for federalprograms.
Plaintiff is an employee of the federal judiciary. She receives hea
lth insurancethrough her employer and has elected a family health insurance plan
to provide coverage to
herself and to her son
. She requested that her employer enroll her spouse,
Amy Cunninghis, in
her family plan, a benefit available to married employees of the federal judiciary. Defendants, onbehalf of the federal government, however, refused and blocked the enrollment, based onplaintiff’s sexual orientation, and based on her sex in relation to the sex of her spouse.
As the basis for their denial of the benefits and protections of federal law,
defendants invoked Section 3 of the so
called “Defense of Marriage Act,” P.L. 104
in part as 1 U.S.C. § 7 (“DOMA”), and stated that the federal government will only
marriages between a man and a woman.
Defendants’ application of DOMA has barred plaintiff and her spouse from
receiving benefits that are routinely granted to other similarly situated married couples, based on
plaintiff’s sexual orientation and her sex in relation to the sex
of her spouse.
This is an action for declaratory and injunctive relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C.§§
2202 and Fed. R. Civ. P. 57 and for review of agency action pursuant to 5 U.S.C. §§701
It seeks a determination that DOMA, 1 U.S.
C. § 7, as applie
d to plaintiff
, violates the
United States Constitution by refusing to recognize lawful marriages for purposes of the laws
Case3:10-cv-00257-JSW Document102 Filed04/14/11 Page2 of 18