Federal judge declines DOJ request to reconsider ruling blocking FMLA benefits

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AUSTIN, Texas — The state attorney general says a federal judge in Texas has declined a U.S. Justice Department request to reconsider his order temporarily blocking federal rules expanding medical leave benefits to some gay couples.

Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton announced Friday that U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor in Wichita Falls declined to dissolve his own injunction, issued March 26.

O’Connor’s order has temporarily stopped expansion of the definition of “spouse” under the Family and Medical Leave Act to include same-sex couples. The change had been set to take effect March 27.

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Paxton argues that complying with the expanded definition would force state agencies to either violate federal rules or a 2005 gay-marriage ban in the Texas Constitution.

Arkansas, Louisiana and Nebraska have joined Texas’ lawsuit.

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