Judge Says Challenge in Defense of Marriage Act Case Will Go Forward
U.S. District Court Judge Vanessa Bryant has denied a motion from the Republican-dominated Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group to stop proceedings in the case of Pedersen v. Office of Personnel Management, a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act. The case is pending in the federal court in the District of Connecticut. Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), the plaintiffs' attorneys, opposed the motion for a stay.
[Bryant] issued her order Wednesday in the case, Pedersen v. Office of Personnel Management. BLAG filed a motion to stay last month, arguing that the same issues were under consideration in Windsor v. United States, a case now on appeal in the Second Circuit. Both cases challenge section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages. Last month, a federal judge in New York ruled DOMA unconstitutional in the Windsor case. [...]
Judge Bryant, a George W. Bush appointee, rejected BLAG’s assertion that the Pedersenand Windsor cases are the same, where she noted that in the latter, the standing of the sole plaintiff, Edith Windsor, has been challenged by BLAG, and therefore the Second Circuit could limit its analysis to that question, which would not dispose of the issues under consideration in Pedersen.
The judge also wrote that a stay “would not conserve judicial economy” because the district court was already in the process of drafting a decision, and she said that the plaintiffs would be harmed by a stay at this point.
The case involves six married New England couples and a widower. All have been denied federal benefits because of DOMA. It is almost a certainty that after Bryant rules on the subtance of the case, it will be appealed.
You can learn more about Pedersen v. Office of Personnel Management and the plaintiffs involved here.