The decision by U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken of Oakland was the second by a Bay Area judge this year to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act, the 1996 law withholding more than 1,000 federal benefits - such as joint tax filing, Social Security survivor payments and immigration sponsorship - from gays and lesbians legally married under state law.
Wilken also overturned another 1996 law that denied federal tax benefits to long-term health insurance plans for state employees if they included domestic partners.
That law, like the Defense of Marriage Act, was based on “moral condemnation and social disapprobation of same-sex couples,” she said. She cited assertions during congressional debate that same-sex domestic partnership was “an attack on the family” and would “undermine the traditional moral values that are the bedrock of this nation.”
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