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June 21, 2012

BLAG Moves to Stop Proceedings in Pedersen v. OPM

The Bi-Partisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) has filed a motion to stay the proceeding in Pedersen v. Office of Personnel Management, GLAD’s second challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) now pending in federal court in the District of Connecticut.

The case involves six married couples and a widower, from Connecticut, Vermont, and New Hampshire, who have all been denied federal benefits only because of DOMA.  BLAG’s grounds are that the Windsor case is now pending in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and that BLAG will seek Supreme Court review of the Massachusetts & Gill cases from the First Circuit Court of Appeals.

“Our plaintiffs are being denied access to vital federal programs, and now BLAG also wants to deny them access to any resolution of their case,” says GLAD’s Mary L. Bonauto, lead counsel in the case. 

“BLAG acknowledges DOMA’s constitutionality is a matter of great national importance, so it should want the judge to contribute her opinion on this important issue, especially where the case has already been fully briefed and is just awaiting decision,” says Bonauto.  “While BLAG tries to thwart this case, Jerry Passaro continues to be denied his late husband’s pension.  Anne Meitzen continues to be unable to go on her wife Joanne Pedersen’s health insurance.  Lynda DeForge continues to be unable to care for her wife Raquel Ardin because she can’t get Family Medical Leave.”

GLAD will oppose the motion to stay.  “There is no burden on BLAG or the courts where any appeal can be consolidated efficiently with the Windsor case,” she adds.