Federal District Court Judge Reed O’Connor granted the State of Texas’ request for a stay against the Obama Administration in a lawsuit regarding regulations pertaining to the Family and Medical Leave Act. The Court’s action blocks the Administration from implementing a new rule requiring businesses to give same-sex couples access to the Act’s benefits even if they live in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriages.
“The Obama Administration’s attempt to force employers to recognize same-sex marriages would have put state agencies in the position of either violating Texas law or federal regulations,” said Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in a statement obtained by Breitbart Texas. “We are pleased that the Department of Labor’s effort to override our laws via federal rulemaking has been halted, and we will continue to defend our sovereignty in this case.”
Paxton filed a lawsuit on March 18th to block the new federal regulations that were scheduled to go into effect on March 27th. The proposed rule would direct state agencies to grant family and medical leave benefits to same-sex marriages which Texas does not recognize. The State of Texas was joined in the lawsuit by the states of Arkansas, Louisiana and Nebraska.
Judge O’Connor was appointed to the bench by President George W. Bush in 2007. He serves in the Northern District of Texas.
“The Court finds that Plaintiffs have demonstrated that irreparable injury would occur,” O’Connor wrote in the Court’s opinion and order (attached below). “For example, the Final Rule would require Texas agencies to recognize out-of-state same-sex unions as marriages in violation of Texas Family Code § 6.204(c)(2), which expressly prohibits state agencies from ‘giving effect to a . . . right or claim to any legal protection, benefit, or responsibility asserted as a result of a marriage between persons of the same sex or a civil union in this state or in any other jurisdiction.’…Defendants’ argument that the Final Rule only affects the states in their capacity as employers does not take into account the clear and expansive language of the text. Accordingly, Plaintiffs have met their burden under this factor.”
“It is hereby ORDERED that the Department of Labor must STAY the application of the Final Rule, pending a full determination of this matter on the merits,” Judge O’Connor ordered.
Lana Shadwick is a contributing writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. Follow her on Twitter @LanaShadwick2.