Court Halts FMLA Same-Sex Marriage Rule
A federal district court in Texas granted a request made by the states of Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Nebraska for a preliminary injunction on the Department of Labor’s Final Rule revising the regulatory definition of spouse under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
As HRWatchdog previously reported, the DOL’s final rule extended protections of the FMLA to all eligible employees in legal same-sex marriages to care for their spouses, regardless of where the employees live. The rule adopted a “place of celebration” standard: the FMLA would cover a same-sex spouse if the marriage was entered into in a state that recognizes same sex marriages, as opposed to looking at the law of the state where the employee currently resides.
The Final Rule was set to take effect on March 27, 2015. On March 26, however, the federal district court ruling stopped enforcement of this rule, at least for the time being. According to the court’s ruling, the public has an “abiding interest” in protecting state laws from “federal encroachment” (Texas v. United States, Civil Action No. 7:15-cv-00056 (N.D. Tex.)).
The court ordered the DOL to stay the application of the Final Rule until the court could issue a full determination on the lawsuit’s merits.