Same-sex couples can challenge a law denying them long-term-care benefits, a federal district court decides. It refused to throw out their lawsuit, which claims that a federal tax law is unconstitutional because it disqualifies long-term-care plans that states offer to employees if same-sex couples or domestic partners are covered. A ruling on the merits will come later (Dragovich v.Treasury Department,D.C.,Calif.).
A much bigger tax case involving same-sex couples is pending on appeal. In 2010, a different district court struck down the federal law that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Although the Justice Dept. has refused to defend the constitutionality of the law, the House of Representatives hired a lawyer for the appeal. But a ruling in that case is still several months away, and it is certain the loser will seek Supreme Court review, delaying a final decision for at least a year. So for now, same-sex couples still aren’t allowed to file jointly on the federal returns.