U.S. Supreme Court

Lower courts expand on SCOTUS ruling clearing way for US benefits for same-sex spouses

Lower court judges are citing and expanding on the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down the federal law that banned federal benefits to same-sex married couples.

The Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) reports on the impact of the June ruling in United States v. Windsor. A federal judge in Cincinnati found that an Ohio law banning recognition of gay marriages from other states is likely to be unconstitutional. A federal judge in Detroit temporarily blocked enforcement of a Michigan law barring public employers from offering benefits to gay and other unmarried couples. Another Detroit federal judge allowed a suit challenging Michigan’s ban on gay marriage.

University of Southern California law professor David Cruz tells the Wall Street Journal that judges are embracing the principles of Windsor rather than finding ways to distinguish it. “It’s a pattern that’s emerging—and it’s striking,” he said.

Nine suits challenging same-sex marriage laws have been filed since the Windsor decision, and at least three others are pending, the story says. Another suit before the Supreme Court of Missouri deals with survivor benefits for a gay man whose partner, a police officer, was killed on the job.

Related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “DOMA ruling may benefit gays seeking divorces”

ABAJournal.com: “Cozen partner’s surviving same-sex spouse gets her law firm profit-sharing fund, federal judge rules”

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