A class action lawsuit filed last month by three same-sex couples, legally married under California law, alleges that the exclusion of same-sex domestic partners and spouses from coverage under state-run long-term care plans is a violation of their due process and equal protection rights. The case challenges a 1996 federal law that permits states to establish long-term care plans for their employees but excludes coverage for state workers' same-sex partners, including state workers who legally married their same-sex partners between May 2008 and November 2008. Although CalPERS has offered most of its benefits to same-sex couples since 2005, it contends that providing the long-term coverage (used by state employees to pay for extended stays in facilities such as nursing homes or assisted-living centers) to same-sex partners would jeopardize the program's federal tax status.