Same-Sex Couples Sue CalPERS, IRS Over Partner Health Benefits
On Tuesday, the Legal Aid Society's Employment Law Center filed a lawsuit in San Francisco federal court alleging that the California Public Employees' Retirement System and the IRS violate civil rights by barring same-sex domestic partners from receiving coverage under state-run long-term care plans, the AP/Ventura County Star reports.
The legal group filed the suit on behalf of three married same-sex couples (AP/Ventura County Star, 4/13).
The case challenges a 1996 federal law that permits states to establish long-term care plans for their employees. The law denies coverage to a state worker's same-sex partner.
In 2005, California granted spousal benefits to same-sex domestic partners but exempted long-term care plans authorized by the 1996 federal law.
The exemption also applies to state workers who married their partners between May 2008 and November 2008, when California had extended marriage rights to same-sex couples.
CalPERS, which administers the long-term care plan for state employees, has said the program could lose its federal tax status if it provided coverage for same-sex partners.
Attorneys with the Legal Aid Society's Employment Law Center said they asked CalPERS to join the suit against the federal restrictions, but CalPERS declined. The pension fund now is a defendant in the case (Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle, 4/14).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.