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Gay Man Sues Conshohocken Business For Denying Healthcare Coverage to Spouse

Local steel mill taken to federal court over healthcare rejection.

Plaintiff Bryce Ginther is taking Conshohocken-based steel mill giant, ArcelorMittal USA, and a local steelworkers health fund to federal court over the denial of healthcare coverage for his spouse. The male industrial electrician is suing to gain coverage for his male spouse, Kit Kineef, according to Law360.com.

The suit claims "the company and the Steelworkers Health and Welfare Plan had no basis for rejecting Ginther's request to enroll Kineef as his dependent under the health plan," the article said.

The suit went to the federal courts based in Pennsylvania on Monday, "alleging they wrongfully denied coverage to a male employee's husband by saying same-sex spouses were not covered under the health plan," Law360 said.

Ted Martin, the executive director of Equality PA, said this is a common problem.

"This situation clearly reflects the general unfair nature of DOMA, whether it be federal or state," Martin said. "These are people that are not seeking outrageous things, not out-of-the-ordinary. They are things like healthcare benefits for their spouse."

DOMA, or the Defense of Marriage Act, is a law that states marriage is between a man and a woman. In states where the act is upheld, it can be difficult to get equal rights for homosexual partners or spouses.

Martin said many in the LGBT community face these challenges daily.

"This is the most natural thing in the world, something any person would want for their spouse," he said. "It is just one of the daily examples of the humiliation those LGBT people face, having to parse out what they can do for the people they love."

The Human Rights Campaign, which seeks to repeal DOMA, says the act restricts freedoms.

"DOMA singles out lawfully married same-sex couples for unequal treatment under federal law, allowing states to refuse recognition of valid civil marriages and denying same-sex couples more than 1,100 federal benefits and protections," said the HRC website.

A spokesperson for the corporate offices of ArcelorMittal, USA said the company had not yet been provided a copy of the suit.

"ArcelorMittal learned of the lawsuit yesterday, though, as of yet, neither a Complaint nor Summons has been served," said the emailed statement. "We are currently reviewing the matter to determine next steps."

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