Tag Archives: Amy Cunninghis

Hero of the Week Award: February 24, Karen Golinski

24 Feb

Hero of the Week

In case after case, the forces of inequality are losing ground as courts make fair decisions. This week we are pleased to present the HWA to a woman who stood up for her rights and made progress for all of us. Karen GolinskiĀ  has worked for the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals for two decades. When California law allowed her and her partner, Amy Cunninghis, to marry, they joyfully did so. Since she had a legal spouse under California law, Golinski sought spousal insurance coverage from her employer. Because of the nefarious “Defense of Marriage” Act (DOMA), the federal court denied her claim (talk about lack of civil rights).

Karen Golinski did not give up. She followed each step in the tortuous path to receive the legitimate benefits, culminating with a lawsuit. This week, U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey White ruled that by creating an unequal class of married persons, DOMA violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution. Fighting this kind of legal battle is demanding, even when you know you are right. The LGBT community and everyone interested in equal rights for all owe Ms. Golinski and Ms. Cunninghis a debt of gratitude for standing up for their rights.

Honorable mention in this case goes to the couple’s superior legal team and to Judge White. The Judge presented a strong decision based on numerous cases in recent years that declares clearly that centuries of oppression are not legal grounds for discrimination. While the forces of bigotry will certainly appeal this decision, the reasoning is sound and in the long term equality will prevail. For a detailed legal analysis, visit the legal scholar at Towelroad.

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