Friday, March 27, 2015

BREAKING: FMLA’s “same-sex spouse” rule on hold, for now

Today, the new rule that would permit FMLA benefits for same-sex spouses was to take effect. However, late yesterday, a federal judge in Texas granted a preliminary injunction [pdf] temporarily halting the rule.

The plaintiffs—the attorney generals of four states that do not recognize same-sex marriages—successfully argued that they were likely to succeed on the merits of their claim that the FMLA rule infringed on their states’ rights under section 2 of the Defense of Marriage Act to ignore same-sex marriages lawfully entered in other states.

This is only a temporary victory for the plaintiffs in this case. And, while it legally only impacts the four states that are plaintiffs in this action, practically, the DOL will hold any implementation of this rule until this case plays itself out.

As for the merits of the case itself, as Robin Shea points out, this case could become moot (clearing the way for the FMLA rule-change) if the Supreme Court legalizes same-sex marriage later this term. Fingers crossed.