Judge in Texas blocks federal rules change for gay couples

AP News
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Posted: Mar 26, 2015 9:40 PM

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A federal judge in Texas has blocked temporarily federal rules that would have expanded medical leave benefits to some gay couples.

In a 24-page ruling filed Thursday in Wichita Falls, Texas, U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor granted a preliminary injunction that stays expansion of the definition of "spouse" under the Family and Medical Leave Act to include same-sex couples.

Texas filed suit last week to block Friday's implementation of the change. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton argued that complying with the new regulations would have forced state agencies to either violate federal rules or a 2005 gay-marriage ban in the Texas Constitution.

Arkansas, Louisiana and Nebraska joined the lawsuit.

A Justice Department spokeswoman says the opinion was under review and it's not immediately clear how many states are affected.