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Federal judge: CalPERS must offer same-sex couples long-term care insurance coverage

Photo by Paola Kizette Cimenti via Flickr Creative Commons

A federal judge in Oakland ruled that CalPERS, the big state pension fund, must offer its long-term care insurance coverage --which pays for nursing home stays and assisted-living centers -- to same-sex partners and spouses, The Sacramento Bee reports.

U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken struck down a portion of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, the 1996 law that defined marriage as between a man and a woman.

The fund said extending coverage to gay couples would put the program's tax-free status in jeopardy, and in 2010 group of Bay Area state workers sued them, and the federal government

The Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, a Republican group of congressmen, opposed the lawsuit. The Obama administration declined to defend the 1996 law, notes The Bee.

Wilken, in a 41-page ruling, said the ban on long-term care insurance "appears to be motivated by anti-gay animus." The provision in the federal law "violates the Constitution's equal protection guarantee," she added.

Her ruling wasn't a surprise. In a preliminary ruling in January, the judge indicated she believed the provision in the 1996 law was unconstitutional.