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CT Judge Refuses BLAG’s Plea to Pause DOMA Lawsuit

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A federal judge in Connecticut has denied a request from House Republicans to halt proceedings in a case challenging the Defense of Marriage Act.

U.S. District Court Judge Vanessa Bryant ruled Wednesday that the GOP-led Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group–or BLAG–did NOT meet the criteria to warrant a stay. BLAG entered a motion last month to pause the lawsuit filed by Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders–or GLAD–on behalf of six married couples and a widower.

BLAG initially argued that GLAD’s case was similar to a New York-based DOMA lawsuit that is under review in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals–the SAME court that would take the Connecticut case if it, too, were appealed. Both are challenging Section 3 of DOMA, which prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriages, especially for the purpose of receiving spousal benefits.

Janson Wu is a staff attorney for GLAD in the Connecticut case. He says their constitutional arguments are “dead-on right” and that BLAG just “can’t seem to handle more than two cases at once.”

WU: There’s so much talk about the politics of these cases that it’s always good to remind ourselves that this is actually about real people’s lives and people and families and children who are being harmed.

Judge Bryant–a Republican appointee–rejected BLAG’s assertion that both the Connecticut and New York lawsuits are the same. She also said that denying BLAG’s motion for a stay would NOT pose a problem for the legislative group, but would instead harm the case’s plaintiffs since the court is already drafting its decision.

Both BLAG and the U.S. Justice Department asked the Supreme Court this week to intervene in three other DOMA lawsuits.


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