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699 FEDERAL SUPPLEMENT, 2d SERIES
nation. This court, therefore, must conclude that no reasonable fact finder could render a verdict in Wilson’s favor. For the foregoing reasons, the Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment [# 17] is ALLOWED. AN ORDER HAS ISSUED. ORDER For the reasons set forth in the accompanying memorandum, the Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment [# 17] is ALLOWED. IT IS SO ORDERED.
(1) court could not redress inability of surviving same-sex spouse of deceased federal employee to enroll in Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program; (2) DOMA violated core constitutional principles of equal protection; (3) there was no rational relationship between DOMA and Congress’s goal of preserving status quo; and (4) purported administrative burden presented by changing patchwork of state approaches to same-sex marriage in distributing federal marriage-based benefits did not provide rational basis for DOMA. Motions granted in part and denied in part. 1. Federal Civil Procedure O103.2, 103.3 Irreducible constitutional minimum of standing contains three requirements: (1) there must be alleged and ultimately proven injury in fact; (2) there must be fairly traceable connection between plaintiff’s injury and complained-of conduct of defendant; and (3) there must be likelihood that requested relief will redress alleged injury. U.S.C.A. Const. Art. 3, § 2, cl. 1. 2. Federal Civil Procedure O103.2 Where plaintiff lacks standing to pursue his claim, court, in turn, lacks subject matter jurisdiction over dispute. U.S.C.A. Const. Art. 3, § 2, cl. 1. 3. Constitutional Law O704 Federal district court could not redress inability of surviving same-sex spouse of deceased federal employee to enroll as annuitant in Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program, and thus spouse lacked standing to challenge constitutionality of Defense of Marriage Act’s (DOMA) exclusion of same-sex spouses from definition of ‘‘spouse’’ under
Nancy GILL & Marcelle Letourneau, et al., Plaintiffs, v. OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT, et al., Defendants. Civil Action No. 09–10309–JLT. United States District Court, D. Massachusetts. July 8, 2010. Background: Same-sex couples married in Massachusetts and three survivors of same-sex spouses, also married in Massachusetts, brought action alleging that, due to operation of Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), they were denied certain federal marriage-based benefits that were available to similarly-situated heterosexual couples, in violation of equal protection principles embodied in Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause. Federal officials moved to dismiss, and plaintiffs moved for summary judgment. Holdings: The District Court, Tauro, J., held that:
GILL v. OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT
Cite as 699 F.Supp.2d 374 (D.Mass. 2010)
federal law, where Office of Personnel Management (OPM) found spouse ineligible for survivor annuity, Merit Systems Review Board affirmed OPM’s denial, and spouse’s appeal of Board’s decision was pending before Federal Circuit. 1 U.S.C.A. § 7. 4. United States O39(2) Statute establishing Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program did not confer upon Office of Personnel Management (OPM) discretion to provide health benefits to same-sex couples, notwithstanding Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). 1 U.S.C.A. § 7; 5 U.S.C.A. § 8901(5). 5. Constitutional Law O3051 In examining equal protection claims, courts apply strict scrutiny only to those laws that burden fundamental right or target suspect class, and law that does neither will be upheld if it bears rational relationship to legitimate government interest. U.S.C.A. Const.Amends. 5, 14. 6. Constitutional Law O3438 Marriage O17.5(1) There existed no fairly conceivable set of facts that could ground rational relationship between Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and legitimate government objective, and thus DOMA violated core constitutional principles of equal protection; consensus among medical, psychological, and social welfare communities was that children raised by gay and lesbian parents were as likely to be well-adjusted as those raised by heterosexual parents, denial of same-sex marriage did nothing to promote stability in heterosexual parenting, ability to procreate was never precondition to marriage, and federal government’s denial of benefits to same-sex spouses could not encourage homosexual people to marry members of opposite sex. U.S.C.A. Const. Amend. 5; 1 U.S.C.A. § 7.
7. Constitutional Law O1020, 1055 Classification neither involving fundamental rights nor proceeding along suspect lines is accorded strong presumption of validity, and courts are compelled under rational-basis review to accept legislature’s generalizations even when there is imperfect fit between means and ends. U.S.C.A. Const.Amends. 5, 14. 8. Constitutional Law O3057 Law challenged on equal protection principles can only survive rational basis inquiry if it is narrow enough in scope and grounded in sufficient factual context for court to ascertain some relation between classification and purpose it serves. U.S.C.A. Const.Amends. 5, 14. 9. Constitutional Law O3053, 3054 Constitutional equal protection principles will not tolerate government reliance on classification whose relationship to asserted goal is so attenuated as to render distinction arbitrary or irrational. U.S.C.A. Const.Amends. 5, 14. 10. Constitutional Law O3057 Law must fail rational basis review under constitutional equal protection principles where purported justifications make no sense in light of how government treated other groups similarly situated in relevant respects. U.S.C.A. Const.Amends. 5, 14. 11. States O18.13 Fact that governing majority in State has traditionally viewed particular practice as immoral is not sufficient reason for upholding law. 12. Constitutional Law O2970 Concern for preservation of resources standing alone cannot justify classification used in allocating those resources. 13. Constitutional Law O2970 Mere negative attitudes, or fear, unsubstantiated by factors that are properly cognizable by government, are impermissi-
the United States Postal Service. § 7 Gary D.5(1) There was no rational relationship. Henry. MEMORANDUM I. for purpose of determining whether DOMA violated equal protection principles.C. Const.A. Claire Laporte. LLP. for Plaintiffs.C. Astrue. Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders. 1 U. who are seven same-sex couples married in Massachusetts and three survivors of same-sex spouses. Richard L. Buseck. Matthew E. Jones. Washington. Const. Scott Simpson.Amend. § 7. Amy Senier. 14. W. § 7. David J. Introduction This action presents a challenge to the constitutionality of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act 1 as applied to Plaintiffs.A. Deneke. Mary L. DOMA injected complexity into an otherwise straightforward administrative task by sundering class of state-sanctioned marriages into two. Michael J. 5. and DOMA’s scope reached far beyond realm of pecuniary benefits. they have been denied certain federal marriagecapacity as the Postmaster General of the United States of America. Constitutional Law O3438 Marriage O17. 2. Boston.S. Bonauto. John E. 16.A. 15.S. Constitutional Law O3438 Marriage O17. due to the operation of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act. DC. U. DC. Nagle. federal agencies merely distributed federal marriage-based benefits to couples that had already ob1. also married in Massachusetts. District Judge. Eric H. Janson Wu. 1 U. Halmkin. Washington. § 7.S. and privileges.2 Specifically. Paul M.S.A. benefits. DOMA did not provide for nationwide consistency in distribution of federal benefits among married couples.Amend. 5. Holder. Congress had no interest in uniform definition of marriage for purposes of determining federal rights. Smith. Plaintiffs contend that. TAURO. for equal protection purposes. in his individual capacity as the .. Sullivan & Worcester LLP. 2d SERIES ble bases upon which to ground legislative classification. U.C.C. William E.C. U. federal government had historically deferred to state marital status determinations. between Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Congress’s goal of preserving status quo pending resolution of socially contentious debate taking place in states over whether to sanction same-sex marriage. Jr. Marriage O25(3) Congress does not have authority to place restrictions on states’ power to issue marriage licenses.C. MA. 1 U. Foley Hoag LLP.376 699 FEDERAL SUPPLEMENT. in his official capacity as the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration. Jenner & Block. Department of Justice.S. in his official tained state-sanctioned marriage licenses. Catherine C. Miller. West Codenotes Held Unconstitutional 1 U.S. Potter.5(1) Purported administrative burden presented by changing patchwork of state approaches to same-sex marriage in distributing federal marriage-based benefits did not provide rational basis for Defense of Marriage Act’s (DOMA) exclusion of samesex marriages from definition of ‘‘marriage’’ under federal law.A. Defendants in this action are the Office of Personnel Management. for Defendants. and federal government recognized heterosexual marriages that would not be sanctioned in other states. Vickie L.S.
74 S. the Report warned that ‘‘a redefinition of marriage in Hawaii to include homosexual couples 6.2d 44 (1993). Hereinafter. See id.S. to include only the union of one man and one woman. for the first time. 2419 (1996) trative bureaus and agencies of the United States. 7. Sharpe. D. . July 8.S. Buseck.S.Mass. 2906–07 (‘‘H. J. and the word ‘‘spouse’’ refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or wife. 8. Hawaii ultimately amended its constitution to allow the state legislature to limit marriage to opposite-sex couples. five other states and the District of Columbia now extend full marriage rights to same-sex couples.7 a 1993 decision issued by the Hawaii Supreme Court. it provides that: In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress. et al. No.’’ 3. Rep. 852 P.8 That decision raised the possibility. 497. 1 U. The Defense of Marriage Act In 1996. Lewin. New Hampshire. as the Fourteenth Amendment does.Ct. which defines the terms ‘‘marriage’’ and ‘‘spouse. H. I.A. and Massachusetts. 4.3 Because this court agrees.’’ and expressed concern that this development ‘‘threaten[ed] to have very real consequences TTT on federal law. 10.C. the Baehr decision did not carry the day in Hawaii. 530. § 7.R. except with regard to Plaintiff Dean Hara’s claim for enrollment in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan. the word ‘‘marriage’’ means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife.C. See Bolling v. v. Dep’t of Health and Human Servs. II. Ex. 2010) (Tauro.2d 374 (D. regulation.5 At issue in this case is Section 3 of DOMA. 347 U.’’ 10 Specifically.Supp.’’ for purposes of federal law.GILL v. No. 2905.9 The House Judiciary Committee’s Report on DOMA (the ‘‘House Report’’) referenced the Baehr decision as the beginning of an ‘‘orchestrated legal assault being waged against traditional heterosexual marriage.Ed. Aff. Notably.C. Vermont. reprinted in 1996 U. or interpretation of the various adminisUnited States Attorney General. 104–199. this court collectively refers to the Defendants as ‘‘the government. in violation of the equal protection principles embodied in the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.) this court holds that the Defense of Marriage Act is additionally rendered unconstitutional by operation of the Tenth Amendment and the Spending Clause. 104–664 at 2–3 (1996). 884 (1954). 09–cv–11156–JLT. art. However.Rep.N. 2010) 377 based benefits that are available to similarly-situated heterosexual couples.6 In large part. and the United States of America. and President Clinton signed into law. See HAW. CONST. 9. 499. or of any ruling. Though the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution does not contain an Equal Protection Clause.L. 110 Stat.Mass. Congress enacted. the Defense of Marriage Act (‘‘DOMA’’). 5. These five states are Iowa..2d 234 (D. In particular. 98 L. where Plaintiffs reside. that same-sex couples could begin to obtain state-sanctioned marriage licenses. Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss [# 20] is DENIED and Plaintiffs’ Motion for Summary Judgment [# 25] is ALLOWED. of Gary D. which indicated that same-sex couples might be entitled to marry under the state’s constitution.Supp. In the companion case of Commonwealth of Mass. 693. Rather. the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause includes an Equal Protection component.. Connecticut. Background 4 A. 698 F. § 23. Pub. as he lacks standing to pursue that claim in this court. the enactment of DOMA can be understood as a direct legislative response to Baehr v.’’) [hereinafter ‘‘House Report’’]. OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT Cite as 699 F. 74 Haw. at 59–67. No.
at 16 (footnote omitted).15 The House Report acknowledged that federalism constrained Congress’ power. Id. H7486 (daily ed. Id. Sept. 2d SERIES could make such couples eligible for a whole range of federal rights and benefits. Id. at 13. Id. Helms) (‘‘[Those opposed to DOMA] are demanding 15. 18. records.’’ 22 They argued that marriage by gays and lesbians would ‘‘demean’’ and ‘‘trivialize’’ heterosexual marriage 23 and 18.’ ’’ 17 and. and a moral conviction that heterosexuality better comports with traditional (especially Judeo–Christian) morality. at 2. S10. Representative Henry Hyde. 16.’’ 14. members of Congress repeatedly voiced their disapproval of homosexuality. 142 CONG. 1996) (statement of Rep. July 11. then-Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.’’ 20 In one unambiguous expression of these objectives. 23. or judicial proceeding of any other State TTT respecting a relationship between persons of the same sex that is treated as a marriage under the laws of such other State. at 10. Smith). Id. In so doing.13 Congress permitted the states to decline to give effect to the laws of other states respecting same-sex marriage. ‘‘to prescribe the effect that public acts. 1996). function of state law. stated that ‘‘[m]ost people do not approve of homosexual conduct TTT and they express their disapprobation through the law. at 12. and proceedings from one State shall have in sister States. 142 CONG.19 and reflect Congress’ ‘‘moral disapproval of homosexuality. in response to the Hawaii Supreme Court’s decision. and that ‘‘[t]he determination of who may marry in the United States is uniquely a 11. REC. REC.’’ ‘‘based on perversion’’ and ‘‘an attack upon God’s principles. Congress relied on its ‘‘express grant of authority. the House Report explained that the statute codifies the definition of marriage set forth in ‘‘the standard law dictionary. at H7494 (statement of Rep.’’ for purposes of federal law. Id. 13. 21. Coburn). 12. 1996) (statement of Rep. 17. Id. calling it ‘‘immoral. 20. at 25. 1996) (statement of Sen.’’ 16 Nonetheless. 110 (daily ed.1990)).’’ 18 The House Report further justified the enactment of DOMA as a means to ‘‘encourag[e] responsible procreation and child-rearing. 10. . embraced DOMA as a step toward furthering Congress’s interests in ‘‘defend[ing] the institution of traditional heterosexual marriage. Section 2 of DOMA provides that ‘‘[n]o State TTT shall be required to give effect to any public act. 142 CONG. at 29. (citing BLACK’S LAW DICTIONARY 972 (6th ed.’’ ‘‘depraved.’’ under the second sentence of the Constitution’s Full Faith and Credit Clause. Id. at 3. REC. July 12. Id. record.’’ 21 In the floor debate. Id.’’ 14 With regard to Section 3 of DOMA. at H7494 (statement of Rep. H7444 (daily ed. see also 142 CONG.’’ conserve scarce resources. H7480 (daily ed. Buyer).’’ 11 And so. Congress sought a means to both ‘‘preserve[ ] each State’s ability to decide’’ what should constitute a marriage under its own laws and to ‘‘lay[ ] down clear rules’’ regarding what constitutes a marriage for purposes of federal law.’’ ‘‘unnatural. 19. 22. therefore. it asserted that Congress was not ‘‘supportive of (or even indifferent to) the notion of same-sex ‘marriage. July 12. Smith). Id.378 699 FEDERAL SUPPLEMENT.12 In enacting Section 2 of DOMA. REC.
as a beneficiary under Ms. Accountability Office.pdf.2d 374 (D.items/d04353 r.27 that homosexuality be considered as just another lifestyle—these are the people who seek to force their agenda upon the vast majority of Americans who reject the homosexual lifestyle TTT Homosexuals and lesbians boast that they are close to realizing their goal—legitimizing their behaviorTTTT At the heart of this debate is the moral and spiritual survival of this Nation. economists. available at http://www. Gov. Marcelle Letourneau. and the federal Flexible Spending Arrangement program.’’).138 federal laws tied benefits. H7275 (daily ed. Congress did not hear testimony from agency heads regarding how DOMA would affect federal programs. H7495 (daily ed. the government agencies responsible for administering the relevant programs all invoked DOMA’s mandate that the federal government recognize only those marriages between one man and one woman. A. seeks to add her spouse. Largent). made at least one request to the appropriate federal agency or authority for treatment as a married couple. it would devalue the love between a man and a woman and weaken us as a Nation. 1996) (statement of Rep. health benefits and taxation.’’). House Report at 10–11. or specialists in family or child welfare. prior to DOMA. only by reference to each state’s marital status determinations. spouse. Lipinski) (‘‘Al- B. rights. For example. 25.049 federal laws. Id. It concluded that DOMA implicated at least 1. 2010) 379 might indeed be ‘‘the final blow to the American family. In denying Plaintiffs access to these benefits. GAO–04– 353R Defense of Marriage Act (2004). Ex.26 A follow-up study conducted in 2004 found that 1. 1997 (GAO/OGC–97–16). Barr) (stating that marriage is ‘‘under direct assault by the homosexual extremists all across this country’’). Plaintiff Nancy Gill. General Accounting Office.Supp. or his or her spouse. the General Accounting Office issued a report clarifying the scope of DOMA’s effect. the relevant committees did not engage in a meaningful examination of the scope or effect of the law. 26. an employee of the United States Postal Service.S. The Federal Programs Implicated in This Action Prior to filing this action.GILL v. and that those terms were defined. which are at issue in this action. Aff. July 11.’’ 24 Although DOMA drastically amended the eligibility criteria for a vast number of different federal benefits.S. Gill’s existing self and family enrollment in the FEHB. each Plaintiff. Report of the U. 142 CONG. the House Report simply observed that the terms ‘‘marriage’’ and ‘‘spouse’’ appeared hundreds of times in various federal laws and regulations. of Gary D. REC. OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT Cite as 699 F. such as Social Security. or widower with respect to particular federal benefits available to married individuals.Mass.gao. rights. REC. Instead. the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (the ‘‘FEDVIP’’). January 31.gov/new. Nor was there testimony from historians. July 12. 1996) (statement of Rep. and privileges that depend upon marital status. 24. . 27. 1.25 In January 1997. Office of General Counsel. Buseck. see also 142 CONG. But each request was denied. protections. including those related to entitlement programs. to add lowing for gay marriages would be the final straw. Health Benefits Based on Federal Employment Plaintiffs’ allegations in this case encompass three federal health benefits programs: the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (the ‘‘FEHB’’). at H7276 (statement of Rep. or responsibilities to marital status. U.
§ 8901(1)(B). and former spouses. And Plaintiff Dean Hara seeks enrollment in the FEHB as the survivor of his spouse. former Representative Gerry Studds. ‘‘self only. either an employee who retires on a federal annuity. (2) the types of plans and benefits to be provided.380 699 FEDERAL SUPPLEMENT. 36. including those setting forth ‘‘the time at which and the manner and conditions under which an employee is eligible to enroll. §§ 8905. Id. Letourneau’s medical expenses.’’ 36 For the purposes of the FEHB statute.S.e. i. seeks to change his ‘‘self only’’ enrollment in the FEHB to ‘‘self and family’’ enrollment in order to provide coverage for his spouse. Id. 5 C. See 5 U.S.34 An enrollee in the FEHB chooses the carrier and plan in which to enroll. 38. . 32. anyone who is not a current federal employee. § 890. 39.28 annuitants. members of their families. 8906. Letourneau to FEDVIP. § 8905. 5 U. § 8905(f). 5 C.’’ 38 An ‘‘annuitant’’ eligible for coverage under the FEHB is. and their family members. § 8913. 8903. Id.C. Federal Employees Health Benefits Program The FEHB is a comprehensive program of health insurance for federal civilian employees. (g). or ‘‘a member of a family who receives an immediate annuity as the survivor of an employee TTT or of a retired employeeTTTT’’ 39 To be covered under the FEHB.30 The Office of Personnel Management (‘‘OPM’’) administers the FEHB and is empowered to negotiate contracts with potential carriers. or the family member of a current employee.R. a ‘‘member of family’’ is defined as either ‘‘the spouse of an employee or annuitant [or] an unmarried dependent child under 22 years of ageTTTT’’ 37 An employee enrolled in the FEHB for ‘‘self only’’ coverage may change to ‘‘self and family’’ coverage by submitting documentation to the employing office during an annual ‘‘open season. 5 U. former spouses of employees and annuitants.’’ 32 as well as ‘‘the beginning and 28. 29.R. Plaintiff Martin Koski. Id. § 8906. 31. 35. must be eligible for a 34. ending dates of coverage of employees.S. Id. §§ 8901–8914. a former employee of the Social Security Administration. § 8901(3)(B).35 Under OPM’s regulations.31 OPM also prescribes regulations necessary to carry out the program.301(f).S.C.302(a)(1). § 890.C. A. Id. 30. ‘‘including a change in marital status. which established (1) the eligibility requirements for enrollment.F. Id.’’ coverage or for ‘‘self and family’’ coverage. 33. 2d SERIES Ms. ‘‘[a]n enrollment for self and family includes all family members who are eligible to be covered by the enrollment. §§ 8902. generally speaking. ‘‘Employee’’ is defined as including a Member of Congress.’’ 33 Both the government and the enrollees contribute to the payment of insurance premiums associated with FEHB coverage. annuitants. and to use her flexible spending account for Ms. as well as to set the premiums for each plan. § 8901(5). 8906. and (3) the qualifications that private insurance carriers must meet in order to offer coverage under the program.C. 37.F.29 The program was created by the Federal Employees Health Benefits Act. See 5 U. James Fitzgerald. and decides whether to enroll for individual.’’ or within sixty days after a change in family status.
and decide whether to enroll for ‘‘self only. Although OPM and the Internal Revenue Service have occasionally used that term.49 C. Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (‘‘FEDVIP’’) The Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program provides enhanced dental and vision coverage to federal civilian employees. OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT Cite as 699 F. 894. 47. 41. ¶ 401. 2010) 381 federal annuity.’’ ‘‘self plus one.201(b). § 125. 56. § 890. §§ 8951(2).41 The program was created by the Federal Employee Dental and Vision Benefits Enhancement Act of 2004. 26 U. § 894.525 (Oct.Reg.51 OPM established the federal Flexible Spending Arrangement program in 2003. Plaintiffs’ First Amended and Supplemental Complaint refers to the ‘‘Federal Flexible Spending Account Program’’.’’ 40 B. §§ 8956(a).’’ Id. Id.53 50.R. 8984.Mass. her claim with regard to her FSA is asserted only against the Postal Service and not against OPM. either as a former employee or as the survivor of an employee or former employee. see 5 C.F.R. Id.’’ 47 An employee enrolled in FEDVIP for ‘‘self only’’ coverage may change to ‘‘self and family’’ coverage during an annual ‘‘open season’’ or within 60 days after a ‘‘qualifying life event. See 71 Fed. 53.C. 8982. 44. 46.52 This program does not apply. 48. Id. §§ 8951.’’ The term ‘‘HCFSA’’ used by the plaintiffs means ‘‘health care flexible spending arrangement. 8983. 8982(a).S. 17. Id. to ‘‘[c]ertain executive branch agencies with independent compensation authority. annuitants.’’ such as the United States Postal Service. §§ 8962(a). as with the FEHB generally. 8954. § 894. FEDVIP is administered by OPM. see 68 Fed. 410–12. 66. See 5 U. the enrollment is ‘‘transferred automatically to his or her eligible survivor annuitants. 8992(a). 42. (b). Id. 8986(a).Reg. 8953.S.S. an enrollment for ‘‘self and family’’ ‘‘covers the enrolled employee or annuitant and all eligible family members. ¶¶ 401. which established its own flexible benefits plan prior to the creation of the FSA.509(a). 51. 45.’’ 48 The terms ‘‘annuitant’’ and ‘‘member of family’’ are defined in the same manner for the purposes of the FEDVIP as they are for the FEHB more generally..’’ including marriage or ‘‘acquiring an eligible child. 49. 5 C. 8952. 8981.303(c). Flexible Spending Arrangement Program 50 A Flexible Spending Arrangement (‘‘FSA’’) allows federal employees to set aside a portion of their earnings for certain types of out-of-pocket health care expenses.43 OPM is also authorized to ‘‘prescribe regulations to carry out’’ this program. 52. 43.GILL v. Id. When a federal employee or annuitant dies under ‘‘self and family’’ enrollment in FEHB.F. the term now used by both agencies is ‘‘Flexible Spending Arrangement. which contracts with qualified companies and sets the premiums associated with coverage. §§ 8951. 8991(2). associated regulations. Id.42 and. §§ 8952(a).827 (Nov. and their family members.44 Persons enrolled in FEDVIP pay the full amount of the premiums. Id.45 choose the plan in which to enroll.201(c). Compl. . in order to supplement health insurance coverage provided by the FEHB. 5 U.C. 2003). 8988(a).Supp. §§ 8958(a). The money withheld in an FSA is not subject to income taxes. however.46 Under the 40.2d 374 (D.C. 8981. 1.’’ or ‘‘self and family’’ coverage. Because Plaintiff Gill works for the United State Postal Service. 2006).
Social Security Survivor Benefits The Act also provides certain benefits to the surviving spouse of a deceased wage earner. 61. and Herbert Burtis. but only the Widower’s Insurance . And Plaintiff Herbert Burtis seeks Widower’s Insurance Benefits. Widower’s Insurance Benefit The Widower’s Insurance Benefit is available to the surviving husband of an individual who had adequate lifetime earnings from employment or self-employment. Id. Randell Lewis–Kendell. 56. see 42 U. a male. see id. The Social Security Act also provides for a Widow’s Insurance Benefit.60 ii.56 In addition to seeking Social Security Retirement Benefits based on one’s own earnings.’’ 57 B. §§ 402(I). §§ 901. 414(a). 414. 55. 57. count]. 902. Id. §§ 402(I). 413(a). or is entitled to old-age TTT insurance benefits based on a primary insurance amount which is less than one-half of the primary insurance amount of [his or her spouse]. § 402(f)(1). § 402(e). 42 U. 62.S. 59. Id. (c). based on marriage to a same-sex spouse. Retirement Benefits The amount of Social Security Retirement Benefits to which a person is entitled depends on an individual’s lifetime earnings in employment or self-employment.’’ 55 A number of the plaintiffs in this action seek certain Social Security Benefits under the Act. Dean Hara. among other things. Id. 2d SERIES Social Security Benefits The Social Security Act (‘‘Act’’) provides.61 The claimant. § 402(f)(3). the Lump–Sum Death Benefit and the Widower’s Insurance Benefit. 413(a). Three of the Plaintiffs. which are necessary or appropriate to carry out such provisions. § 402(b). Id. not inconsistent with the [pertinent] provisions of [the Social Security Act]. 699 FEDERAL SUPPLEMENT. The Act is administered by the Social Security Administration. (b). must have attained the age set forth in the statute. 60. § 405(a). Id. if the claimant ‘‘is not entitled to old-age TTT insurance benefits [on his or her own ac54. Jo Ann Whitehead seeks Retirement Insurance Benefits based on the earnings record of her spouse. and must be either (1) ineligible for old-age insurance benefits on his own account or (2) entitled to old-age insurance benefits ‘‘each of which is less than the primary insurance amount’’ of his deceased spouse. Specifically. 415(a). 413(a). Bette Jo Green. 58.58 i. §§ 402(f).59 The amount of the benefit is the lesser of $255 or an amount determined based on a formula involving the individual’s lifetime earnings. § 902(a)(5).C. §§ 402.C.54 The Commissioner has the authority to ‘‘make rules and regulations and to establish procedures. seek Lump–Sum Death Benefits based on their marriages to same-sex spouses who are now deceased.382 2. an individual may claim benefits based on the earnings of a spouse. Lump–Sum Death Benefit The Lump–Sum Death Benefit is available to the surviving widow or widower of an individual who had adequate lifetime earnings from employment or self-employment. (b). 414(a).S. must not have ‘‘married’’ since the death of the individual. This action implicates two such types of Survivor Benefits. Retirement and Survivors’ Benefits to eligible persons. see id. A. with a few limited exceptions. Id. 415. which is headed by the Commissioner of Social Security.62 Benefit is implicated here because the only plaintiff who seeks such benefits herein is Herbert Burtis.
65 III.S. 67. there must be redressability—a likelihood that the requested relief will redress the alleged injury.GILL v. 26 U. Discussion A. 538 F. § 6511(a). lacks subject matter 68.6402– 2(a)(1). Id. 2010) 383 3. Summary Judgment Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a).C. there must be alleged (and ultimately proven) an injury in factTTTT Second.’’ the couple may file a joint return within three years after the filing of the original returns.’’ 67 Because the Parties do not dispute the material facts relevant to the questions raised by this action. Higgins. And third.64 Should the amended return call for a lower tax due than the original return. (b). it is appropriate for this court to dispose of the issues as a matter of law. (2). v. the court ‘‘must scrutinize the record in the light most favorable to the summary judgment loser and draw all reasonable inferences therefrom to that party’s behoof. the court. 102–03. § 301. The amount of income tax imposed on an individual under the Internal Revenue Code depends in part on the taxpayer’s ‘‘filing status. (c). OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT Cite as 699 F. 69.Ed. Prescott v. law.2d 374 (D. the taxpayer may also file an administrative request for a refund of the difference.’’ 69 Where the plaintiff lacks standing to pursue his claim.R. 34 (1st Cir.66 In granting a summary judgment motion. 64. in this court.Supp. this court finds it appropriate. 140 L. as a survivor annuitant. 40 (1st Cir. a ‘‘married individual TTT who makes a single [tax] return jointly with his spouse’’ is generally subject to a lower tax than an ‘‘unmarried individual’’ or a ‘‘head of household. 430 F. Because there are no material facts in dispute and Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss turns on the same purely legal question as the pending Motion for Summary Judgment.Ct. Id. § 1(a). to address the two motions simultaneously. 118 S. [1. 65. see id. § 6013(a) (‘‘A husband and wife may make a single return jointly of income taxes TTT even though one of the spouses has neither gross income nor deductions [subject to certain exceptions].2d 210 (1998) (internal citations omitted).’’ 63 ‘‘[I]f an individual has filed a separate return for a taxable year for which a joint return could have been made by him and his spouse. a number of Plaintiffs in this case seek the ability to file federal income taxes jointly with their spouses. Filing Status Under the Internal Revenue Code Lastly. 2] ‘‘The irreducible constitutional minimum of standing contains three requirements.2005). . 66. 83.Mass. First and foremost. v. Mfrs.’’ In accordance with the income tax scheme utilized by the federal government.3d 32. Plaintiff Dean Hara’s Standing to Pursue his Claim for Health Benefits As a preliminary matter. there must be causation—a fairly traceable connection between the plaintiff’s injury and the complained-of conduct of the defendant.S.2008). Alliance of Auto. 1003. see 26 C. 523 U. summary judgment shall be granted where there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of 63.’’).3d 30. This court notes that Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss [# 20] is also currently pending.68 B. Citizens for a Better Env’t. as a matter of judicial economy. Gwadosky. § 6013(b)(1). this court addresses the government’s assertion that Plaintiff Dean Hara lacks standing to pursue his claim for enrollment in the FEHB. Steel Co.F. in turn.
470 U.74 Accordingly. Second. Hara’s eligibility for a survivor annuity turns solely on the constitutionality of DOMA. § 8347(b). Plaintiffs argue that.71 Such eligibility is a matter determined initially by OPM. § 1295(a)(9).S. he will remain ineligible for FEHB enrollment. OPM. The appeal. plicitly on the finding that Mr. that Mr. the fact remains that Mr. 768. See 5 U.C. Hara ineligible for a survivor annuity both on initial review and on reconsideration. This argument stems from the fact that. 791–99. 775. § 8905(b). § 7703(b)(1).Ct. Hara has not been declared eligible for a survivor annuity. 105 S. this court must accept OPM’s determination. see also Lindahl v. 5 U. Mr.C. it is estopped from raising the issue of whether Mr. and the agency which has authority over such matters denied his claim.C.72 subject to review by the Merit Systems Review Board.S. 2d SERIES jurisdiction over the dispute. 493 U. in basing its decision on reconsideration ex70. regardless of the grounds upon which OPM rested its decision. the government asserts that a ruling in this court cannot redress Mr. v.384 699 FEDERAL SUPPLEMENT. because the Federal Circuit has yet to resolve his appeal of the Merit Systems Review Board’s decision. affirmed by the Merit Systems Review Board. And if he is ineligible to receive a survivor annuity.Ed. Hara sought to enroll in the FEHB as a survivor annuitant based on his deceased spouse’s federal employment. regardless of the outcome of this proceeding.S. FW/PBS. therefore.S. OPM found Mr. Plaintiffs arguments to the contrary are unavailing. Hara is ineligible for a survivor annuity only be73. The Merit Systems Review Board affirmed OPM’s decision that Mr. Hara’s spouse failed to elect self and family FEHB coverage prior to his death. Mr. Hara is ineligible to receive a survivor annuity pursuant to the FEHB statute. 110 S.S. Hara is an ‘‘annuitant’’ on appeal and. based on unrebutted evidence of his intent. 28 U. Hara’s spouse to have made the requisite ‘‘self and family’’ benefits election prior to his death. First. Hara applied for an annuity. Inc.73  Prior to this action.2d 674 (1985). 72. Because the Federal Circuit has not held differently. Hara’s appeal of the Merit Systems Review Board’s decision is pending before the Federal Circuit.70 At issue here is the question of redressability. 215. City of Dallas. Mr. . has been stayed pending the outcome of this action. Mr. because OPM did not file a cross-appeal to the Federal Circuit. then he cannot enroll in the FEHB program. which affirmed OPM’s finding adverse to Mr. 74. 84 L. Hara’s status as an annuitant for purposes of appeal to the Federal Circuit. 107 L. And so the government maintains that.S.Ed.Ct. if Mr. Hara. 231. OPM effectively conceded Mr. This court agrees. 71. notwithstanding this court’s finding that Section 3 of DOMA as applied to Plaintiffs violates principles of equal protection. Hara appealed that decision to the Merit Systems Review Board. the Merit Systems Review Board deemed Mr. and finally subject to the exclusive judicial review of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. And currently. A surviving spouse can enroll in the FEHB program only if he or she is declared eligible to receive a survivor annuity under federal retirement laws. 596.C. unlike OPM.2d 603 (1990). Hara’s inability to enroll in the FEHB as an annuitant. which affirmed OPM’s denial. Plaintiffs argue that. however. 1620. But. 5 U.
as it pertains to Mr. Hara’s injury. 80. Roberson. the FEHB statute confers on OPM the discretion to extend health benefits to same-sex spouses. must be answered by the Federal Circuit.2d 374 (D. this court is without power to hear his claim. 75. defines the word ‘‘spouse.S.F.’’ 76  A basic tenet of statutory construction teaches that ‘‘where the plain language of a statute is clear. as a matter of judicial economy. Though this court is empathetic to Plaintiffs’ argument. 523 U. 2010) 385 cause DOMA precluded federal recognition of Mr. with similar clarity. But that question.GILL v.’’ 78 And ‘‘[w]here. C. Antonellis.Ct.R.1996). in its discretion. To arrive at this interpretation of the FEHB statute. a decision by this court cannot redress Mr. One Nat’l Bank v. Congress has clearly limited coverage of family members to spouses and unmarried dependent children under 22 years of age. Hara. it is without power to hear his claim.75 So if this court cannot redress Mr. § 8901(5) (emphasis added).’’ 79 In other words. See Steel Co. Hara’s claim. therefore. Plaintiffs are correct that Mr. Hara’s same-sex marriage.S. consider same-sex spouses to be eligible ‘‘family members’’ for purposes of distributing health benefits. it governs. 615 (1st Cir. The FEHB statute unambiguously proclaims that ‘‘ ‘member of family’ means the spouse of an employee or annuitant [or] an unmarried dependent child under 22 years of age. Accordingly. the constitutionality of DOMA.Ed.3d 606. through the plain language of the FEHB statute.’ that definition controls to the exclusion of any meaning that is not explicitly stated in the definition. Plaintiffs assert that. And DOMA. 53 (1st Cir. v. 102–03.’’ 77 Under the circumstances presented here.Mass.C. OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT Cite as 699 F.C. this basic tenet readily resolves the issue of interpretation before this court. this court cannot plausibly interpret the FEHB statute to confer on 78. but not a ceiling. as here. 118 S. 79. 140 L.’’ 80 In the face of such strikingly unambiguous statutory language to the contrary. 5 C. Plaintiffs rely on associated regulations which state that an ‘‘enrollment for self and family includes all family members who are eligible to be covered by the enrollment.2006).2d 210 (1998) (internal citations omitted).Supp. not one of efficiency. Hara will be rendered eligible for a survivor annuity if the question of DOMA’s constitutionality is resolved in his favor. as ‘‘a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or wife. 77. United States v. Congress defines what a particular term ‘means. that OPM may. it makes sense for this court to render a decision on Mr. 5 U. notwithstanding DOMA. Plaintiffs therefore contend that. 1003. identity of issues does not confer standing. The question of standing is one of jurisdiction. Hara’s injury and. 76.’’ for purposes of determining the meaning of any Act of Congress. to coverage eligibility. Based on this court’s reading of the Merit Systems Review Board’s decision. Plaintiffs assert. The FEHB Statute therefore. Plaintiffs contend that the terms ‘‘family members’’ and ‘‘members of family’’ as used in the FEHB statute set a floor. Citizens for a Better Env’t.S. because the pending appeal in the Federal Circuit ultimately turns on the precise legal question at issue here. 459 F. 1 U. § 890.3d 39. 83. 80 F. § 7. In the alternative to the constitutional claims analyzed below. . In support of this argument.302(a)(1) (emphasis added).
S. 40 S. 128 S. ––––. Royster Guano Co. 1138. 16 S.’’ United States v. Id.’’ 87 But courts remain cognizant of the fact that ‘‘the promise that no person shall be denied the equal protection of the laws must coexist with the practical necessity that most legislation classifies for one purpose or another. . Maryland. 41 L.S. 87 L. Equal Protection of the Laws ‘‘[T]he Constitution ‘neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens. Or. D.S. 553 U. 1101. in an attempt to reconcile the promise of equal protection with the reality of lawmaking. 1620 (citing Personnel Administrator of Mass. City of Cleburne v. at 631. 116 S. 312. 72 L. Virginia.S. 439.2d 870 (1979). 560. Dep’t of Agric.S.2009) (Reinhardt. 989 (1920)).86 81. 116 S. 6 L.S. (citing Heller v.’’ 83. The doctrine of constitutional avoidance counsels that ‘‘between two plausible constructions of a statute. 86. 202. the most searching of constitutional inquiries. This court also takes note of Plaintiffs’ argument that the FEHB statute should not be read to exclude same-sex couples as a matter of constitutional avoidance.Ed. 2152. 85.  To say that all citizens are entitled to equal protection of the laws is ‘‘essentially a direction [to the government] that all persons similarly situated should be treated alike.J. 457 U..’’ 88 And so. Romer. 587 F. but see. 90. 170 L. Id.). 1150 (9th Cir.). 425.Ct.’ ’’ 83 It is with this fundamental principle in mind that equal protection jurisprudence takes on ‘‘governmental classifications that ‘affect some groups of citizens differently than others.Ed.Ct. 89. 256. an inquiring court should avoid a constitutionally suspect one in favor of a constitutionally uncontroversial alternative.Ct. 2637. 517 U. 60 L. dissenting)). Doe. 537. 99 S.Ed.2d 393 (1961)).Ed. courts apply strict scrutiny. 473 U. 319– 320.Ct. Evans. 2146.S.Ed.3d 63. only to those laws that burden a fundamental right or target a suspect class. 432. this court uses the term ‘‘DOMA’’ as a shorthand for ‘‘Section 3 of DOMA as applied to Plaintiffs. 216. 517 U. notwithstanding DOMA. 81 S. 560 F. 591.386 699 FEDERAL SUPPLEMENT.89 A law that does neither will be upheld if it merely survives the rational basis inquiry—if it bears a rational relationship to a legitimate government interest.Ed.2d 257 (1993)). Romer v. with resulting disadvantage to various groups or persons. v. 623. Accord In re Brad Levenson. the analysis turns to the central question raised by Plaintiffs’ Complaint. 105 S. 1620. 420. 415. 3249. J. Romer. 559. 508 F.3d 1145.Ct. 116 S. Engquist v. Dwinells. the doctrine of constitutional avoidance has no place in the analysis. 517 U. Doe. Because this court has concluded that there is but one plausible construction of the FEHB statute. 82.. v. In the remainder of this Memorandum. C.2007).2d 786 (1982)). 2382.Ct. 620. Cleburne Living Ctr. Id.2d 975 (2008) (quoting McGowan v. 2d SERIES OPM the discretion to provide health benefits to same-sex couples.Ct. 366 U.2d 855 (1996) (quoting Plessy v. 113 S. 442 U.81 Having reached this conclusion. 87.Ct.Ct. 64 L.’ ’’ 84 And it is because of this ‘‘commitment to the law’s neutrality where the rights of persons are at stake’’ 85 that legislative provisions which arbitrarily or irrationally create discrete classes cannot withstand constitutional scrutiny.2009) (Kozinski. namely whether Section 3 of DOMA as applied to Plaintiffs 82 violates constitutional principles of equal protection.2d 313 (1985) (citing Plyler v. 1620.Ct. Ferguson. 271–72. In re Karen Golinski. 253 U.S.S.3d 956. 963 (9th cir. 163 U. Feeney. 2282. 125 L.90 84. This constitutional standard of review is alternately referred to as the rational relationship test or the rational basis inquiry. 102 S.S. 509 U.Ct.Ed.S. 70 (1st Cir.Ed. 412. at 623. J. 134 L. 256 (1896) (Harlan.Ed. F. 88.S.
94  Nonetheless. the class of persons targeted by DOMA. at 633.’’ 96 In other words.’’ 92 A ‘‘classification neither involving fundamental rights nor proceeding along suspect lines is accorded a strong 91.’’ 98 [9. however. The Rational Basis Inquiry presumption of validity TTT [and] courts are compelled under rational-basis review to accept a legislature’s generalizations even when there is an imperfect fit between means and ends. 449 U. 121 S. this court is convinced that ‘‘there exists no fairly conceivable set of facts that could ground a rational relationship’’ 91 between DOMA and a legitimate government objective. of Ala. fairness.  This analysis must begin with recognition of the fact that rational basis review ‘‘is not a license for courts to judge the wisdom. [courts] insist on knowing the relation between the classification adopted and the object to be attained. 948–49 (9th Cir. 92.S. namely that: 1 DOMA marks a stark and anomalous departure from the respect and recognition that the federal government has historically afforded to state marital status determinations. 66 L.S.2d 389 (1976) (internal quotation omitted). Doe. 10] Importantly. and.3d 25.Ed.Supp.GILL v. 98. Oregon Public Employees’ Retirement Bd. a challenged law can only survive this constitutional inquiry if it is ‘‘narrow enough in scope and grounded in a sufficient factual context for [the court] to ascertain some relation between the classification and the purpose it serve[s]. 356. 312. its impartiality would be suspect.2d 374 (D. v. 99.’’ 97 Courts thereby ‘‘ensure that classifications are not drawn for the purpose of disadvantaging the group burdened by the law.. 509 U. 453. 166. 95. violates core constitutional principles of equal protection.Ct. Id.S. 2010) 387 Plaintiffs present three arguments as to why this court should apply strict scrutiny in its review of DOMA. 3249). Romer. Vincent. de Castro.’’ 95 ‘‘[E]ven in the ordinary equal protection case calling for the most deferential of standards.Mass.Ed. .Ct. 887 F. the objective served by the law must be not only a proper arena for government action. Medeiros v.Ed. 1 DOMA burdens Plaintiffs’ fundamental right to maintain the integrity of their existing family relationships. 97 S.2d 368 (1980) (Stevens. 181. in order to find a legitimate government interest sufficient to justify the challenged provision. ‘‘the standard by which legislation such as [DOMA] must be judged is not a toothless one. 97. Bd. 1. 181. or logic of legislative choices. OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT Cite as 699 F.S. 185. (internal citations omitted).’’)). Id.99 And the classification created in furtherance of this objective ‘‘must find 96. 105 S. 101 S. therefore. 531 U. Garrett. Heller v. 1620.Ct. 116 S. concurring) (‘‘If the adverse impact on the disfavored class is an apparent aim of the legislature. 1 The law should consider homosexuals. DOMA. J. 148 L. Id. a court applying rational basis review may go so far as to hypothesize about potential motivations of the legislature.  This court need not address these arguments. to be a suspect class. (citing Railroad Retirement Bd.S. 366. because DOMA fails to pass constitutional muster even under the highly deferential rational basis test. 125 L. Shaw v. 29 (1st Cir.2d 866 (2001) (quoting City of Cleburne. 319–20. 50 L. v. 94. 955. 431 F. 431.Ct. Mathews v.2d 947. of Trs. at 441.2005) (internal citation omitted).Ed.’’ 93 Indeed. Fritz. of the Univ. As set forth in detail below. 113 S. but also properly cognizable by the governmental body responsible for the law in question. 473 U. 429 U. 93. 517 U.1989) (internal quotation omitted).Ct.S.Ct. 2637..2d 257 (1993) (internal citations omitted).
a consensus has developed among the medical.105 Since the enactment of DOMA. 955 (citing City of Cleburne. 509 U.org/cgi/content/full/pediatrics. and Bisexual Adults. or Transgender Parents Policy Statement http://www. But the fact that the government has distanced itself from Congress’ previously 100.cwla.’’ 102 2.388 699 FEDERAL SUPPLEMENT.2d 257 (1993). because the government concedes that this objective bears no rational relationship to the operation of DOMA.apa. http://www.ama-assn. Position Statement on Parenting of Children by Lesbian. therefore.103 For purposes of this litigation. AMA Policy Regarding Sexual Orientation.Ct.Ct. 2637. 19 n. 109 PEDIATRICS 339 (2002). 105 S.Ct. they are addressed below only briefly. http:// www. Dismiss. 321. American Psychological Association. Gay. and (4) preserving scarce resources. 104.Ed. American Medical Association. a desire to encourage heterosexual couples to procreate and rear their own children more responsibly would not Family Health. 3249. 105. the government has disavowed Congress’s stated justifications for the statute and. 103. Dismiss. Mot.org/ ama/pub/about-ama/our-people/membergroups-sections/glbt-advisory-committee/amapolicy-regarding-sexual-orientation.S. 2d SERIES some footing in the realities of the subject addressed by the legislation.Ct. Policy Statement on Lesbian and Gay Parents. City of Cleburne. Supp. (2) defending and nurturing the institution of traditional heterosexual marriage. (3) defending traditional notions of morality.org/cs/root/policy statements/gay lesbian transgender and bisexual parents policy statement. 19 n. 102.htm). and social welfare communities that children raised by gay and lesbian parents are just as likely to be well-adjusted as those raised by heterosexual parents.aacap.’s Mem. http://www. Supp. 113 S.’’ 104 This court can readily dispose of the notion that denying federal recognition to same-sex marriages might encourage responsible procreation.aap publications. 473 U.S. 105 S. Congress’ Asserted Objectives asserted reasons for DOMA does not render them utterly irrelevant to the equal protection analysis. City of Cleburne.S. at 446. the constitution will not tolerate government reliance ‘‘on a classification whose relationship to an asserted goal is so attenuated as to render the distinction arbitrary or irrational. at 447. a law must fail rational basis review where the ‘‘purported justifications TTT [make] no sense in light of how the [government] treated other groups similarly situated in relevant respects. at 366 n. Garrett. 473 U. Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and .aspx. org/programs/culture/glbtqposition. psychological. House Report at 12–18. Heller v. As this court noted above.’s Mem. 3249. Mot. Lesbian. Def. The House Report identifies four interests which Congress sought to advance through the enactment of DOMA: (1) encouraging responsible procreation and child-bearing. 125 L. 106. 3249). 10. even in the context of a deferential rational basis inquiry. Gay.org/about/governance/council/ policy/parenting. Coparent or second-parent adoption by same-sex parents.S.106 But even if Congress believed at the time of DOMA’s passage that children had the best chance at success if raised jointly by their biological mothers and fathers. 4. the government ‘‘may not rely on a classification whose relationship to an asserted goal is so attenuated as to render the distinction arbitrary or irrational. 10 (citing American Academy of Pediatrics. 101.S. at 447– 450. 531 U. 312. 105 S. 473 U.’’ 101 As such. available at http://aappolicy. American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.shtml.Ct. Child Welfare League of America. 121 S.’’ 100 That is to say. See Def. Bisexual. Doe.
156 L.Ct.’’ 112 And this the Constitution does not permit.’’ 107 when afforded equal recognition under federal law. ‘‘the fact that the governing majority in a State has traditionally viewed a particular practice as immoral is not a 112. 440 Mass.S. Council 2009) (Reinhardt.E. Dep’t of Public Health. at 571.Ct. See Lawrence v. As the Supreme Court made abundantly clear in Lawrence v. Accord In re Brad Levenson. therefore. 1150 (9th Cir. the ability to procreate is not now. 560 F. Texas. 539 U. it ‘‘prevent[s] children of same-sex couples from enjoying the immeasurable advantages that flow from the assurance of a stable family structure. ‘‘the sterile and the elderly’’ have never been denied the right to marry by any of the fifty states. Goodridge v. 335. 534.S. 578. But to the extent that this was the goal.2d 508 (2003) (Scalia. 2472. 123 S. Id. 413 U. Rather. Texas. Congress has achieved it ‘‘only by punishing same-sex couples who exercise their rights under state law.S. 111. Romer. Evans.Ct. Moreno. . Such denial does nothing to promote stability in heterosexual parenting. Lawrence.Mass. 2010) 389 provide a rational basis for denying federal recognition to same-sex marriages. it must at the very least mean’’ 113 that the Constitution will not abide such ‘‘a bare congressional desire to harm a politically unpopular group.108 Indeed. 605. at 534. 2821 (1973).Supp. see also. an interest in encouraging responsible procreation plainly cannot provide a rational basis upon which to exclude same-sex marriages from federal recognition because. a precondition to marriage in any state in the country.110 To begin with. as Justice Scalia pointed out in his dissent to Lawrence v. dissenting).3d 1145.Ed. 114. 113. 110. 1620.S. this court notes that DOMA cannot possibly encourage Plaintiffs to marry members of the opposite sex because Plaintiffs are already married to members of the same 107.S. 558. this court cannot discern a means by which the federal government’s denial of benefits to same-sex spouses might encourage homosexual people to marry members of the opposite sex.111 And denying marriage-based benefits to same-sex spouses certainly bears no reasonable relation to any interest the government might have in making heterosexual marriages more secure.. 93 S. 109. at 632–33. United States Dep’t of Agric. 539 U. 2472 (suggesting that the government cannot justify discrimination against same-sex couples based on traditional notions of morality alone). is the possibility that Congress sought to deny recognition to same-sex marriages in order to make heterosexual marriage appear more valuable or desirable. 123 S. nor has it ever been. Jud. Congress’ asserted interest in defending and nurturing heterosexual marriage is not ‘‘grounded in sufficient factual context [for this court] to ascertain some relation’’ between it and the classification DOMA effects. ‘‘For if the constitutional conception of ‘equal protection of the laws’ means anything.’’ 114  Neither does the Constitution allow Congress to sustain DOMA by reference to the objective of defending traditional notions of morality. Similarly. 116 S. 798 N.Ed.Ct. 517 U. 2821.2d 374 (D. v. 93 S. What remains. Moreno.Ct. 413 U. Texas and Romer v. But more generally.2d 941 (2003). J. sex. 528. J.).109 And the federal government has never considered denying recognition to marriage based on an ability or inability to procreate.2d 782 (1973).GILL v. Moreover. 37 L. OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT Cite as 699 F. 108. Id. 309.
118. 91 S. 202.  For the reasons set forth below. or fear. See 142 CONG. 72 L. While this court recognizes that conserving the public fisc can be a legitimate government interest. at 577. City of Cleburne.. 92 L. Richardson. 2841. the House rejected a proposed amendment to DOMA that would have required a budgetary analysis of DOMA’s impact prior to passage. 1996). as with Congress’ prior asserted rationales. 117. the government argues that the Constitution permitted Congress to en115. such financial considerations did not actually motivate the law.Ct. 1848. 473 U. July 12. 105 S. 106 S. Congress could reasonably have concluded that DOMA was necessary to ensure consistency in the distribution of federal marriage-based benefits.Ed. In fact.’’ pending the resolution of a socially contentious debate taking place in the states over whether to sanction samesex marriage. REC.S.Ct. 116. at 448. Congress attempted to justify DOMA by asserting its interest in the preservation of scarce government resources. Because the rationales asserted by Congress in support of the enactment of DOMA are either improper or without relation to DOMA’s operation. J. Lawrence. 457 U. dissenting)). 3249. In essence. 2382. Doe.390 sufficient reason lawTTTT’’ 115 699 FEDERAL SUPPLEMENT.’’ 117 This court can discern no principled reason to cut government expenditures at the particular expense of Plaintiffs. the Congressional Budget Office . And ‘‘mere negative attitudes. 216. 365. the argument continues. 186.118 3. therefore.S. See Buseck Aff. 2472 (quoting Bowers v. 539 U. this court next turns to the potential justifications for DOMA that the government now proffers for the purposes of this litigation.Ed. H7503–05 (daily ed.. 403 U. 227. Plyler v. Objectives Now Proffered for Purposes of Litigation act DOMA as a means to preserve the ‘‘status quo. the government asserts that DOMA exhibits the type of incremental response to a new social problem which Congress may constitutionally employ in the face of a changing socio-political landscape. 478 U. To begin. 13] And finally.S. 29 L. though Congress paid lip service to the preservation of resources as a rationale for DOMA.Ed.Ct. Ex. 102 S.2d 534 (1971)). 123 S.S.Ct. the definitions of ‘‘marriage’’ and ‘‘spouse’’ under federal law would have changed along with each alteration in the status of same-sex marriage in any given state because. The Potential Budgetary Impact of Recognizing Same–Sex Marriages. And. C at 1.116 ‘‘a concern for the preservation of resources standing alone can hardly justify the classification used in allocating those resources. Cong.S.2d 140 (1986) (Stevens.Ct. 2d SERIES for upholding a [12. This court notes that. In addition. the government claims that the Constitution permitted Congress to wait for the heated debate over same-sex marriage in the states to come to some concluded in 2004 that federal recognition of same-sex marriages by all fifty states would actually result in a net increase in federal revenue. Furthermore. federal law simply incorporated each state’s marital status determinations. the government’s current justifications for DOMA fail to ground a rational relationship between the classification employed and a legitimate governmental objective. Hardwick. unsubstantiated by factors which are properly cognizable [by the government]’’ are decidedly impermissible bases upon which to ground a legislative classification. this court finds that. apart from Congress’ desire to express its disapprobation of same-sex marriage.2d 786 (1982) (quoting Graham v. prior to DOMA. 374–75. Budget Office. Had Congress not done so.
76 S. generally. v. to be determined by the law of the State of the marital domicile’’). There is no such interest. 126. DOMA refrains from directly doing so..Mass. et al. July 8. 136 U.). v. 514 U. 124. 542 U.Ct. This court addresses the federal government’s historical treatment of state marital status determinations at length in the com- that its content is not to be determined by state. 2301. 689.g. J. et al..123 Marital eligibility for heterosexual couples has varied from state to state throughout the course of history.g..Ed.R. 698 F. 123.Ed. 12.Mass. 2010) (Tauro. 197. 34 L.Supp.Supp.. See.S. benefits. 500 (1890)).g.. § 416(h)(1)(A)(i) (defining an ‘‘applicant’’ for purposes of Social Security survivor and . 1. 100 L. 1624. v.2d 234 (D.S. Commonwealth of Mass. 2206. 70 T.Ct. 351 U. 570. And indeed.’’ 122 This conclusion is further bolstered by an examination of the federal government’s historical treatment of state marital status determinations. 122. for purposes of the tax laws. 197–200 (1982). No.2d 468 (1992) (Blackmun. 2010) 391 resolution before formulating an enduring policy at the national level.S.Ed. July 8.Ct.. Dep’t of Health and Human Servs. and privileges.2d 234 (D. concurring).125 And yet the federal government has fully embraced these variations and inconsistencies in state marriage laws by recognizing as valid for federal purposes any heterosexual marriage which has been declared valid pursuant to state law. v.Supp. a federal question.. 125. Dist. 586. J. 5 C. Michael Grossberg.Ed. 974. 10 S. as it must.2d 626 (1995) (Kennedy. concurring). 366 (1978) (‘‘recognizing that whether an individual is ‘married’ is. J..GILL v.121 ‘‘The scope of a federal right is. but that does not mean 119.126 panion case of Commonwealth of Mass. § 843.Ct. July 8. 09–cv–11156–JLT. 115 S. Commonwealth of Mass. 112 S. But this assertion merely begs the more pertinent question: whether the federal government had any proper role to play in formulating such policy in the first instance. 2010) (Tauro. pursuant to the sovereign power over family law granted to the states by virtue of the federalist system. OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT Cite as 699 F.. De Sylva v. et al.’’ 124 individual states have changed their marital eligibility requirements in myriad ways over time.119 And the powers to establish eligibility requirements for marriage.Mass.2d 98 (2004) (quoting In re Burrus. Newdow.C.C. 361. e. Ballentine. 549. of Legal Hist. e.  There can be no dispute that the subject of domestic relations is the exclusive province of the states. 1415 (1956) (internal citation omitted).S. that Congress does not have the authority to place restrictions on the states’ power to issue marriage licenses. See Ankenbrandt v. Guarding the Altar: Physiological Restrictions and the Rise of State Intervention in Matrimony. J. United States v. No. the government’s argument assumes that Congress has some interest in a uniform definition of marriage for purposes of determining federal rights. 850. Indeed.102 (defining ‘‘spouse’’ for purposes of federal employee benefits by reference to State law).. J. This is especially true where a statute deals with a familiar relationship [because] there is no federal law of domestic relations. e. 716. lie at the very core of such domestic relations law. 26 Amer.Ed.2d 234 (D. rather than federal law. Dep’t of Health and Human Servs. 09–cv– 11156–JLT. See. 120.120 The government therefore concedes.S. Richards.. 09–cv–11156–JLT.). Lopez. Dunn v.Mass. Elk Grove Unified Sch. 159 L. 42 U. J. See. 121. 504 U. 580. of course.2d 374 (D.S. 2010) (Tauro. 698 F. 698 F. 593.F. Dep’t of Health and Human Servs. 119 L. as well as the states’ well-established right to ‘‘experiment[ ] and exercis[e] their own judgment in an area to which States lay claim by right of history and expertise. 580– 83.Ct. 124 S. 131 L. Nonetheless. Comm’r of Internal Revenue.Supp. as the government aptly points out.). as well as to issue determinations of martial status. See. No.
’’). 388 U. See Edward Stein.800 (Family Medical Leave Act).R. husband. the relationship requirement will be met. Congress has contemplated regulating the marital relationship a number of times in the past. become a topic of great debate in numerous states with such fluidity.R. 129. however.127 Nevertheless. ‘‘none had death benefits as ‘‘the wife. indeed.30 and 222. § 103(c) (Veterans’ benefits).50(b)(3) (Public Assistance). It is worthy of note that Congress’ resort to constitutional amendment when it has previously considered wading into the area of domestic relations appears to be a tacit acknowledgment that. This is so.F. 20 C.’’ 128 This court. 12. the only federal statute other than DOMA. Past and Present Proposed Amendments to the United States Constitution Regarding Marriage. and fluid debates at the state level as to who should be permitted to marry. for the most part. 128.F.345 (Social Security) (‘‘If you and the insured were validly married under State law at the time you apply for TTT benefits. particularly in light of the lengthy and contentious state-by-state debate that took place over the propriety of interracial marriage not so very long ago. 38 U. See Loving v. § 404. throughout the evolution of the stateside debate over interracial marriage. for that matter. in the United States.130 130.R. Def.R. The government suggests that the issue of same-sex marriage is qualitatively different than any historical state-by-state debate as to who should be allowed to marry because. rather than legislation. 611. enacted in 1975. . of which this court is aware. cannot lend credence to the government’s unsupported assertion in this regard. 20 C. §§ 219.F. 82 WASH.122 and 825. Virginia.S. the passage of DOMA marks the first time that the federal government has ever attempted to legislatively mandate a uniform federal definition of marriage—or any other core concept of domestic relations. 6 n.129 Importantly. state by state.11 (Railroad Retirement Board). 1. 87 S. See NANCY COTT. U.L.S. at 620 (internal citations omitted) (‘‘Advocates for nationwide changes to marriage laws typically consider amending the Constitution in part because of the widelyaccepted view that. socalled miscegenation statutes began to fall. regarding burial in veterans’ cemeteries. though other such issues have indeed arisen in the past. See 38 U.392 699 FEDERAL SUPPLEMENT. notwithstanding the occurrence of other similarly politically-charged.F. 614–15 (2004). the federal government saw fit to rely on state marital status determinations when they were relevant to federal law. widow or widower’’ of an insured person ‘‘if the courts of the State’’ of the deceased’s domicile ‘‘would find such an applicant and such insured individual were validly married’’).R. And none of these proposed constitutional amendments have ever succeeded in garnering enough support to come to a vote in either the House or the Senate.R.C. 2d SERIES By way of one pointed example. 45 C. 20 C.. 14. § 10. regulation of familial relationships lies beyond the bounds of its legislative powers.415 (Workers’ Compensation).C. Reaching marriage laws by amending the Constitution sidesteps this tension. 29 C. 1817. that denies federal recognition to any state-sanctioned marriages is another provision that targets same-sex couples.F.Ed. PUBLIC VOWS 163 (2000). §§ 825.Ct. But no fewer than sixteen states maintained such laws as of 1967 when the Supreme Court finally declared that prohibitions on interracial marriage violated the core constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process.’s Reply Mem. § 3. § 101(31). Advocates of federal marriage laws are worried that such laws would be in tension with the thesis that family law is state law and for this reason would be found unconstitutional. protracted. See id. 5. 127. § 237. beginning in 1948. a law may still be found unconstitutional. Indeed.2d 1010 (1967).’’). 38 C. 18 L.Q.1(j) (Veterans’ Pension and Compensation).S. but always by way of proposed constitutional amendments. family law is state lawTTTT Although the process of passing a law is much easier than amending the Constitution.F.
2010) 393 Though not dispositive of a statute’s constitutionality in and of itself. v. the government’s assertion that pursuit of this interest provides a justification for DOMA relies on a conspicuous misconception of what the status quo was at the federal level in 1996.Ct. OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT Cite as 699 F. Dep’t of Health and Human Servs. have a legitimate interest in disregarding those family status determinations properly made by the states.2d 374 (D. which this court has concluded that it did not. Congress’ enactment of a provision denying federal recognition to a particular category of valid state-sanctioned marriages was. 2010).Ed.Ct. Furthermore. 32. The government has claimed that Congress could have had an interest in adhering to federal policy regarding the recognition of marriages as it existed in 1996. 1952. But the historically entrenched practice of incorporating state law determinations of marital status where they are relevant to federal law reflects a long-recognized reality of the federalist system under which this country operates.Mass. It does not provide a justification for doing it. Commonwealth of Mass. one must first identify. it was indeed the status quo at the state level to restrict the definition of marriage to the union of one man and one woman. no state had extended such eligibility to same-sex couples. at 633. et al. in fact. ‘‘a longstanding history of related federal action TTT can nonetheless be ‘helpful in reviewing the substance of a congressional statutory scheme.2d 878. generally. 72 L. 770 (1928)). In 1996. 09–cv–11156–JLT. The states alone have the authority to set forth eligibility requirements as to familial relationships and the federal government cannot. See.GILL v. 1620 (quoting Louisville Gas & Elec.Ct. Co.Mass. Staying the course is not an end in and of itself. No. Coleman.’’ 131 And the absence of precedent for the legislative classification at issue here is equally instructive. as of 1996. Comstock.. v. 130 S.S. for ‘‘ ‘discriminations of an unusual character especially suggest careful consideration to determine whether they are obnoxious to the [C]onstitution[ ]TTTT’ ’’ 132 The government is certainly correct in its assertion that the scope of a federal program is generally determined with reference to federal law.. But even assuming that Congress could have had such an interest. 517 U. But. .’ and.S. be true.Ed.Supp.S. 48 S. Romer. such assumption does nothing more than describe what DOMA does. with some precision. 277 U. ––––. a significant departure from the status quo at the federal level. therefore. for federal purposes. 892 (2010) (internal citations omitted). in particular. the reasonableness of the relation between the new statute and pre-existing federal interests. And this may very well 131. United States v.Supp. the status quo at the federal level was to recognize. 116 S. 698 F.2d 234 (D. in order to give any meaning to the government’s notion of preserving the status quo. July 8. ––––. 176 L. but rather a means to an end. This court does not doubt that Congress occasionally encounters social problems best dealt with by preserving the status quo or adjusting national policy 133. Thus.133 Moreover. 37–38. 132. Even assuming for the sake of argument that DOMA succeeded in preserving the federal status quo. this court seriously questions whether it may even consider preservation of the status quo to be an ‘‘interest’’ independent of some legitimate governmental objective that preservation of the status quo might help to achieve. The states alone are empowered to determine who is eligible to marry and. therefore. 1949. 423. any marriage declared valid according to state law. ––– U. the relevant status quo to be preserved.
1995 (1947) (addressing need for regulatory flexibility to address ‘‘specialized problems which arise’’). 136. by its language. As Plaintiffs aptly point out. the pursuit of consistency in the distribution of federal marriage-based benefits can only constitute a legitimate government objective if there exists a relevant characteristic by which to distinguish those who are entitled to receive benefits from those who are not. e. EPA. addressing what seems ‘‘most acute to the legislative mind’’). 91 L. the federal government recognizes it as valid simply because New Hampshire has declared it to be so. without explaining. 67 S. The government asserts.136 Though this court knows of no other state in the country that would sanction such a marriage. Decidedly. can obtain a valid marriage license in the state of New Hampshire. 137. such as global change.Ct.S. DOMA. 3249 (explaining that equal protection of the laws is ‘‘essentially a direction [to the government] that all persons similarly situat- . 144 F.Ct. it is unclear how this is so. 511 F. 473 U.1998) (upholding denial of Social Security benefits to incarcerated felons to conserve welfare resources. RSA 457:4–5. Teigen v. a thirteen year-old female and a fourteen yearold male. 105 S. Medeiros v. notwithstanding differential treatment of other fishing methods.3d 1229. 332 U. that DOMA exhibits legislative incrementalism. 1245 (11th Cir. 31–32 (1st Cir. is not generally resolved at once but rather with consistency. however. which a couple has validly entered pursuant to the laws of the state that issued the license. Indeed.Ed. Nat’l Parks Conserv. For example. but the federal government nonetheless recognizes any heterosexual marriage. Norton.394 699 FEDERAL SUPPLEMENT. See.Ct.2007) (preserving status quo by not promoting employees involved in active litigation against government employer served government’s legitimate interest in avoiding courses of action that might negatively impact its prospects of success in the litigation).. 524. SEC v.2005) (upholding regulation of lobster fishing method. 1438.3d 622. As noted above. Butler v. 127 S. 194.S. Massachusetts v. this court cannot apprehend any rational relationship between DOMA and the goal of nationwide 134. notably. the cases cited by the government support this court’s interpretation of the incrementalist approach as a means by which to achieve a legitimate government objective and not an objective in and of itself. eligibility requirements for heterosexual marriage vary by state. City of Cleburne. 324 F. 167 L.3d 1072. Renfrow. And even within the narrower class of heterosexual married couples. at 439. there is a readily ‘‘reform’’ moving one step at a time. 431 F. 625 (9th Cir. 497. 202. Ass’n v. Chenery Corp. More importantly.134 But to assume that such a congressional response is appropriate requires a predicate assumption that there indeed exists a ‘‘problem’’ with which Congress must grapple. who have the consent of their parents. Rather it denies to same-sex married couples the federal marriage-based benefits that similarly situated heterosexual couples enjoy.137 And. 135..2003) (preserving status quo by allowing leaseholders of stilted structures on national park land to continue to live in structures to extend their leases for a limited period of time served legitimate interest in ensuring that structures were maintained pending development of planning process).2d 248 (2007) (noting that a massive problem. 1575. 549 U.S. But the classification that DOMA effects does not bear any rational relationship to this asserted interest in consistency. 2d SERIES incrementally. notwithstanding different treatment of other institutionalized groups because these groups are different in relevant respects).3d 25. 1084–85 (10th Cir.Ed. Apfel. to ameliorate problem of overfishing). permanently and sweepingly excludes same-sex married couples from recognition for all federal purposes.135 The only ‘‘problem’’ that the government suggests DOMA might address is that of state-to-state inconsistencies in the distribution of federal marriage-based benefits. DOMA does not provide for nationwide consistency in the distribution of federal benefits among married couples.g. Vincent.
by premising eligibility for these benefits on marriage in the first instance.items/d 04353r. DOMA’s comprehensive sweep across the entire body of federal law is so far removed from that discrete goal that this court finds it impossible to credit the proffered justification of consistency as the motivating force for the statute’s enactment. different in relevant respects from the class of non-married people. 116 S.138 different federal laws. Summ. 955 (finding that a law failed rational basis review where the ‘‘purported justifications TTT made no sense in light of how the [government] treated other groups similarly situated’’).GILL v. Lastly.Ct. That task does not become more administratively complex simply because some of those couples are of the same sex. are incorporated into at least 1. this court finds the suggestion of potential administrative burden in distributing marriage-based benefits to be an utterly unpersuasive excuse for the classification created by DOMA. As such. persons who are considered married for purposes of federal law enjoy the right to 140. many of which implicate rights and privileges far beyond the realm of pecuniary benefits. whether married or unmarried. 139. Rather.138  Similarly unavailing is the government’s related assertion that ‘‘Congress could reasonably have concluded that federal agencies should not have to deal immediately with [the administrative burden presented by] a changing patchwork of state approaches to same-sex marriage’’ 139 in distributing federal marriage-based benefits. .S.pdf.Ct. 141.141 For example. Opp. See Romer. Judg. Def.. marriage license was at some point ineligible to marry due to the varied age restrictions placed on marriage by each state. See U. at 635. Federal agencies are not burdened with the administrative task of implementing changing state marriage laws—that is a job for the states themselves.S. Congress.’’). 138. plainly cannot withstand constitutional scrutiny.Supp.S.’’ as set forth by DOMA. GAO– 04–353R Defense of Marriage Act (2004). DOMA seems to inject complexity into an otherwise straightforward administrative task by sundering the class of state-sanctioned marriages into two. 517 U. has already made the determination that married people make up a class of similarly-situated individuals. the claim that the federal government may also have an interest in treating all same-sex couples alike. federal agencies merely distribute federal marriage-based benefits to those couples that have already obtained state-sanctioned marriage licenses. 121 S.2d 374 (D. Nor does it become more complex simply because some of the couples applying for marriage-based benefits were previously ineligible to marry. Yet the federal administrative system finds itself adequately equipped to accommodate their changed status. OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT Cite as 699 F.140 The federal definitions of ‘‘marriage’’ and ‘‘spouse.Mass.gov/new. which this court has concluded that it does not. Cast in this light. 531 U. those that are valid for federal purposes and those that are not. Every heterosexual couple that obtains a ed should be treated alike’’) (internal citation omitted).gao. 4.’s Mem. even if DOMA succeeded in creating consistency in the distribution of federal marriage-based benefits. 1620 (rejecting proffered rationale for state constitutional amendment because ‘‘[t]he breadth of the Amendment is so far removed from these particular justifications that we find it impossible to credit them. at 366 n. In fact. Accountability Office. 2010) 395 discernible and eminently relevant characteristic on which to base such a distinction: marital status. as Plaintiffs suggest. 16. available at http://www. See Garrett. Gov.
§ 1430.’’ 147 this court finds that DOMA lacks a rational basis to support it. the federal government signals to this court that the relevant distinction to be drawn is between married individuals and unmarried individuals. Congress undertook this classification for the one purpose that lies entirely outside of legislative bounds. In the wake of DOMA. past and current.’’ 146 And ‘‘when the proffered rationales for a law are clearly and manifestly implausible. 2004) (Birch.. [DOMA].142 as well as to obtain conditional permanent residency for those spouses pending naturalization. Sec’y of the Dep’t of Children & Family Servs. at 321.Ct. that the government’s proffered rationales. Evans ). simply in order to further the discrete goal of consistency in the distribution of federal marriagebased pecuniary benefits.143 Similarly. at 319–20. See Heller. 1280 (11th Cir.’’ 148 Indeed. 8 U.396 699 FEDERAL SUPPLEMENT. it is only sexual orientation that differentiates a married couple entitled to federal marriage-based benefits from one not so entitled. at 635. who are considered married for federal purposes. Id. 517 U. 147. 144. this court is soundly convinced.S. It is a status-based enactment divorced from any factual context from which [this court] could discern a relationship to legitimate [government] interests. based on the foregoing analysis. touching every single federal provision that includes the word marriage or spouse. Lofton v. 148. Romer. these significant non-pecuniary federal rights are denied to same-sex married couples. 146. . a reviewing court may infer that animus is the only explicable basis.C. It strains credulity to suggest that Congress might have created such a sweeping status-based enactment. 8 U..C. 143. And this court can conceive of no way in which such a difference might be relevant to the provision of the benefits at issue.145 this deferential constitutional test nonetheless demands some reasonable relation between the classification in question and the purpose it purportedly serves. 2637 (internal citations omitted). This court simply ‘‘cannot say that [DOMA] is directed to any identifiable legitimate purpose or discrete objective. are without ‘‘footing in the realities of the subject addressed by 142. 2637. See 5 U. 1620. § 6382. For though the government is correct that the rational basis inquiry leaves room for a less than perfect fit between the means Congress employs and the ends Congress seeks to achieve. to disadvantage a group of which it disapproves.S. 113 S. specially concurring in the denial of rehearing en banc) (interpreting the mandate of Romer v. And where.Ct.S.3d 1275. In sum.Ct. § 1186b(2)(A).144 But because DOMA dictates that the word ‘‘spouse’’. [Because] animus alone cannot constitute a legitimate government interest. 509 U. To further divide the class of married individuals into those with spouses of the same sex and those with spouses of the opposite sex is to create a distinction without meaning. 2d SERIES sponsor their non-citizen spouses for naturalization. to twelve weeks of unpaid leave in order to care for a spouse who has a serious health condition or because of any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that a spouse is on active military duty. 116 S. refers only to a husband or wife of the opposite sex. J. 145. the Constitution clearly will not permit. And such a classification. as used in the above-referenced immigration and FMLA provisions. By premising eligibility for these benefits on marital status in the first instance.S. 113 S.S.C. the Family and Medical Leave Act (‘‘FMLA’’) entitles federal employees. 377 F.
2d 397 (D. ORDER For the reasons set forth in the accompanying Memorandum.S. 1. Federal Civil Procedure O2653. department filed motions for judgment as a matter of law.Proc. specially concurring in the denial of rehearing en banc) (interpreting the mandate of City of . Federal Civil Procedure O928 A motion for reconsideration should be granted if a court has patently misunderstood a party or has made an error not Cleburne v. Specifically. this court must hold that Section 3 of DOMA as applied to Plaintiffs violates the equal protection principles embodied in the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. J. alleging retaliation and sexual harassment in violation of Title VII.. March 12. . Fed. 2. Defendant(s). this court may conclude that it is only irrational prejudice that motivates the challenged classification. except Plaintiff Dean Hara’s claim for enrollment in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan.. IT IS SO ORDERED. J. this court hereby orders that: 1. Cleburne Living Center ) (emphasis added). After a jury rendered a verdict for officer. OF PUERTO RICO. Plaintiff(s) v.Puerto Rico 2010) 397 as here. POLICE DEPT. for new trial and to alter or amend judgment. 2010. Lofton. except with regard to Plaintiff Dean Hara’s claim for enrollment in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan. Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss [# 20] is DENIED as to all claims.Rule 59(e).3d at 1280 (Birch. ‘‘there is no reason to believe that the disadvantaged class is different. POLICE DEPT. IV. in relevant respects’’ from a similarly situated class. 2. OF PUERTO RICO Cite as 699 F. as he lacks standing to pursue that claim in this court. Ordered accordingly. Plaintiffs’ Motion for Summary Judgment [# 25] is ALLOWED. Conclusion For the foregoing reasons. (2) supervisor’s change in demeanor and attitude was not an adverse employment action. Marisela RODRIGUEZ–RIVAS.149 As irrational prejudice plainly never constitutes a legitimate government interest. United States District Court. Garcia–Gregory.Rules Civ. 2655 Motions to alter or amend judgment are granted only where a movant shows a manifest error of law or newly discovered evidence. 377 F.Supp. Jay A. Civil No. Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss [# 20] is DENIED and Plaintiffs’ Motion for Summary Judgment [# 25] is ALLOWED.. 28 U. Background: Female police officer brought action against police department. and (3) new trial was warranted. AN ORDER HAS ISSUED. et al. D. Holdings: The District Court. 149. Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss [# 20] is ALLOWED IN PART and DENIED IN PART. 06–1197 (JAG).RODRIGUEZ–RIVAS v. held that: (1) officer took reasonable steps to avoid harm.A. Puerto Rico.C.
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