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Thread: Obama admin violates judicial order: refuses benefits to gay partner of fed employee

  1. #1
    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Thumbs down Obama admin violates judicial order: refuses benefits to gay partner of fed employee

    I guess some health benefits are more equal than others. Funny that we're all supposed to roll over and accept the President's capitulation to the Republicans and conservative Dems on health care reform, because providing people health care is just so darn important that you simply must find a way to make it happen. But when it comes to gay people getting health care, the Obama administration bends over backwards to find a technicality to, yet again, slap the community in the face.

    This time the administration is saying the judge didn't have the authority to tell them to provide the lesbian benefits. You really need to read Kerry Eleveld's scoop in the Advocate on this. You can just smell that the administration did everything they could, twisted every word, to find an excuse for not providing the benefits. After all, if they give the partners of gay employees health benefits, then someone might accuse Barack Obama of being just a bit too friendly with the gays. And as we've learned over the last year, Obama doesn't do "controversial."

    Funny, but that's the judge's job to decide, not some Obama appointee. You don't get to just decide that a judge doesn't have the authority to order you what to do. If you don't like it, you appeal. You don't just ignore it, a la George Bush. Even weird, the administration is now claiming that DOMA precludes them from following the judge's order.

    Uh, would that be the same DOMA that candidate Obama called "abhorrent" during the campaign. The same DOMA that Obama promised to repeal. Yeah, not so much anymore. There's no plan to touch DOMA at all now. At least until Obama is re-elected, if he's re-elected. So now, yet again, we're told that because the President is refusing to follow through on his promise on DOMA, he can't do anything else for us because of DOMA.

    Of course, it's interesting to note that DOMA came up during the review of this case, and the judge said DOMA wasn't even relevant. So now we have the Obama administration doing over the head of a judge to say that DOMA precludes them from doing something when the judge say it most certainly does not.

    We reported this morning that Newsweek says Obama won't do anything on gay issues next year. Perhaps that's not entirely true. I have a hunch he's going to find the time to take a few more slaps at us, and then some.

    AMERICAblog Gay: THIS JUST IN... The Advocate: Obama admin violates judge's order, refuses to give health benefits to lesbian partner of fed employee
    Bigoted shitbag. The court should send over a few heavily armed Federal Marshalls to the White House to have a nice chat.

    Fuck Obama and the horse he rode in on. God, what a failure.
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  2. #2
    Silver Member shoegal's Avatar
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    The audacity of hope is about right.

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    Where's the news story? What are the facts in the case? Who made the decision?

    You could well be right and the Obama admin. made horrible decision, but I'd like to see the facts.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    ... click the link
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  5. #5
    Elite Member Little Wombat's Avatar
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    I read the Advocate article (Federal Agency Denies Spousal Benefits Claim | News | Advocate.com) cited in the America Blog post. It sounds like an administrative law snafu of some sort. I don't get it.

    Interestingly, though, sounds like there's a bill that will hopefully be passed early next year that would make the issue moot:
    The OPM official said the decision was not taken lightly within the agency, which is headed by John Berry, the highest-ranking LGBT official in the Obama administration. The official added that the predicament underscored the importance of repealing the Defense of Marriage Act.

    Passage of the Domestic Partners Benefits and Obligations Act would also empower OPM to provide these benefits, said the official, and in fact would provide a broader remedy since it covers all domestic partners, not just those couples who happen to live in a state where they can legally marry.

    DPBO has been approved by the committees of jurisdiction in both the House and the Senate, and many expect the legislation to be voted on in the early part of next year. The bill was added to the list of LGBT legislative priorities this spring when President Barack Obama endorsed it while signing a presidential memo that extended a very limited number of benefits to same-sex partners of federal workers.

    Federal Agency Denies Spousal Benefits Claim | News | Advocate.com
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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    oh bull, Pelosi already said they wont be doing anything 'controversial' for the rest of the term
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    Elite Member WhoAmI's Avatar
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    Statement From Elaine Kaplan, OPM General Counsel:

    There have been some developments in the Ninth Circuit regarding access to benefits for same-sex spouses of federal employees, and there’s some confusion over this important issue. Specifically, Karen Golinski, an employee of the Federal Courts, filed a grievance against her employer claiming that the denial of enrollment of her same-sex spouse in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan (FEHBP) violated the Ninth Circuit’s Equal Employment Opportunity policy. Ninth Circuit Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, sitting in his administrative capacity, and not as a federal judge in a court case, said that employees of the court were entitled to FEHBP health benefits for their same-sex spouses. OPM must administer the FEHBP in a lawful manner, and the Department of Justice (DOJ) has advised OPM that providing those benefits would violate the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act.”

    All federal employees — be they in the Executive, Legislative or Judicial branch — receive their heath care benefits in the FEHBP, which is administered by OPM. Spouses and minor children of federal employees are eligible to be enrolled in the FEHBP. However, in 1996, the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” was signed into law and it states that the word “spouse,” when used in a federal statute, can mean only opposite-sex spouses. In other words, the current federal law means that same-sex spouses are ineligible to be enrolled in federal benefit programs that define eligibility based on their status as spouses. As the President has explained, the Administration believes that this law is discriminatory and needs to be repealed by Congress — that is why President Obama has stated that he opposes DOMA and supports its legislative repeal. He also has said he supports the Domestic Partner Benefits and Obligations Act (DPBO), which would allow all same-sex domestic partners of federal employees to receive federal benefits, including enrollment in the FEHB Plan.

    It’s important to understand that Judge Kozinski was acting as an administrative official in this matter, reacting to the concerns of an employee of the judiciary. He was not acting as a federal judge in a court case. This does not mean that the inability to extend benefits to Karen Golinski’s spouse is any less real or less painful, but it is a critical point.

    The decision in this matter was not reached lightly — after we learned of this development, we examined our options and consulted with the DOJ. DOJ advised us that the order issued by Judge Kozinski does not supersede our obligation to comply with existing law because it is not binding on OPM, as it was issued in his administrative capacity, and not as a judge in a court case. Thus, this type of order does not change the existing law, which DOJ concludes prevents the enrollment. DOJ also advised us that DOMA prohibits same-sex spouses of federal employees from enrolling in the FEHBP and that the law does not permit OPM to allow this enrollment to proceed.

    This issue shows exactly why Congress needs to repeal DOMA and pass the DPBO. In fact, the passage of the DPBO would remedy this situation in a way that reaches beyond this individual case involving an employee of the judiciary by providing benefits to same-sex domestic partners of all federal employees across the government whether or not they are married. That is why the Administration has testified before Congress on this crucial legislation, and why the President has personally called for its passage.
    Federal Agency Denies Spousal Benefits Claim | News | Advocate.com

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    I agree that we need to repeal DOMA and pass DPBO, but the original blog is misleading. It's not as though Obama went out of his way to deny benefits.

    The Office of Personnel Management has concluded that it does not have the legal authority to provide benefits to the spouse of Karen Golinski, a staff attorney who works at the U.S. court of appeals for the ninth circuit in San Francisco.

    An OPM official briefed The Advocate on the decision, and the agency’s full statement is available at the end of this article. (Update: A statement from Lambda Legal follows OPM's statement).

    Because she is a federal employee, Golinski’s benefits are overseen by the Office of Personnel Management, which effectively serves as the human resources department for about 1.9 million federal workers nationwide. Golinski’s insurer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, declined to provide health benefits for her legal spouse, Amy Cunninghis, but ninth circuit chief judge Alex Kozinski said that violated the court's guarantee of equal employment opportunity and that same-sex spouses were entitled to benefits under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan.

    OPM attorneys consulted with the Department of Justice on this case, and the key to the case, according to the OPM official, was that Kozinski was presiding over an administrative proceeding that’s an internal employee grievance procedure — he was not serving in his official capacity as a ninth circuit judge.

    “It’s important to understand that Judge Kozinski was acting as an administrative official in this matter, reacting to the concerns of an employee of the judiciary,” reads OPM’s statement official statement. “He was not acting as a federal judge in a court case.”

    Based on that distinction, DOJ concluded that Kozinski’s order was not legally binding. If it were legally binding, OPM would have been faced with either appealing the decision or complying with the order.
    Federal Agency Denies Spousal Benefits Claim | News | Advocate.com

  9. #9
    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Obama and his freak brigade went out of their way to pick at a technicality.

    They also went out of their way to defend a DOMA in court using hideous language that compared gay relationships to incestuous pedophiles, and don't gimme that crap about how they "had" to defend it because that's a load of shit. The only way they HAVE to defend anything is if they want to argue that whatever they're defending is constitutional.

    So in effect the Obama administration thinks gay apartheid in America is constitutional, that second class citizens (much like slaves) is fine and dandy.

    Oh right, anything happening on Don't Ask, Don't Tell? Nawww, they went out of their way to defend that too.

    You'll pardon me if I don't buy their official line, nor yours, about how nobody "went out of their way". Sister, I have about a years worth of stories of them going out of their way to fuck gays over.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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