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The judge hearing the Southern Poverty Law Center's challenge to Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act has just denied the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group's (BLAG) request to stay the proceedings. BLAG, who is defending the law on behalf of House Republicans, had asked the court to stay the case over a month ago, because another DOMA challenge (Golinski v. Office of Personnel Management) was being fast-tracked at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Tracey Cooper-Harris is a military servicemember who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and likely got it as a result of her service. She is now being denied spousal benefits under DOMA, even though she is in a legal marriage.

The judge discussed the relevant factors to consider in a motion to stay proceedings, laid out previously in the case Lockyer v. Mirant Corp., “1) damage that could result from granting the stay; 2) hardship that may result if the stay is denied; and 3) following an “orderly course of justice” measured in the simplification or complication of “issues, proof, and questions of law” that may result from a stay being granted[.]” The judge denied the stay of proceedings, writing that, “After weighing the Lockyer factors, the Court DENIES the Advisory Group’s Motion to Stay Proceedings.” The case will continue along its normal path and the district court will issue a decision on the merits.

House Republicans moved to intervene in the challenge when it was filed, despite the fact that this particular case involves another section of the US Code along with Section 3 of DOMA, and the initial agreement that was voted on by BLAG only applied to DOMA itself. (Leader Pelosi and others criticized House Republicans for their assault on military veterans.)

So now, House Republicans will be stuck defending a discriminatory law against a constitutional challenge by a legally-married military veteran who got a debilitating illness as a result of her service to the United States. This is probably the reason they tried so hard to stop the proceedings.

The case is at the district court-level right now, and now that it won't be stayed for the other pending challenges, it continues there until the judge issues a decision, whenever that will be.

Originally posted to Scottie Thomaston, formerly indiemcemopants on Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 11:37 AM PDT.

Also republished by Milk Men And Women, Kossacks for Marriage Equality, LGBT Kos Community, Angry Gays, Invisible People, and KosAbility.

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