Lesbians Sue Catholic Hospital for Denying Spousal Health Care Benefits

June 20, 2012 - 1:25 AM

NEW YORK (AP) — A New York hospital worker and her spouse have filed a lawsuit saying spousal health benefits were denied to the same-sex couple.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court in Manhattan sought past and future health care benefits and a declaration that the Westchester County couple is entitled to the benefits.

The lawsuit's plaintiffs remained anonymous. Defendants included Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield and St. Joseph's Medical Center. Neither immediately responded to messages for comment. The lawsuit says one of the women works at St. Vincent's Westchester, a division of St. Joseph's. The women's attorney, Randolph McLaughlin, said the lawsuit was unique because it challenges the federal Defense of Marriage Act to obtain health care benefits.

A spokeswoman for Empire says the hospital cannot comment on pending litigation.