Los Angeles —
In a highly unusual move, 20 federal bankruptcy judges unanimously weighed in on a case involving a gay couple, Gene Balas and Carlos Morales, who have had to pay extra to file for bankruptcy protection.
The couple got married in California in 2008, during the brief period that it was legal for gays and lesbians to do so, reported the San Francisco Chronicle.
But Balas lost his job the next year, and medical bills piled up. They filed jointly for bankruptcy this year, but were told by a federal trustee that their joint repayment plan violated the 1996 "Defense of Marriage Act," which defines marriage as being between one man and one woman.
On Monday, the 20 judges in the Los Angeles federal bankruptcy court ruled that it is ridiculous to deny legally married gay and lesbian couples the same rights as straight couples.
"This case is about equality, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, for two people who filed for protection" from creditors. In this court's judgment, no legally married couple should be entitled to fewer bankruptcy rights than any other legally married couple," the court said.