Gay mar­riages to move for­ward in Guam


Guam’s at­tor­ney gen­eral di­rected of­fi­cials to im­me­di­ately begin pro­cess­ing same-sex mar­riage ap­pli­ca­tions Wed­nes­day, putting the is­land on course to be the first U.S. ter­ri­tory to al­low gay nup­tials.

The move by At­tor­ney Gen­eral El­iz­a­beth Bar­rett-An­der­son came two days af­ter a les­bian cou­ple barred from ap­ply­ing to wed sued over the ter­ri­tory’s mar­riage laws.

De­spite the or­der, Leo Casil, the act­ing direc­tor of the Depart­ment of Public Health and So­cial Ser­vices, told the Pa­cific Daily News that of­fi­cials won’t ac­cept ap­pli­ca­tions “un­til fur­ther no­tice.”

Casil said he just re­ceived a let­ter from Bar­rett-An­der­son, not a legal opin­ion.

Gov. Ed­die Baza Calvo’s of­fice said in a state­ment that the Leg­is­la­ture can take ac­tion or res­i­dents can hold a ref­er­en­dum to change the law “if it is the will of the peo­ple of Guam to make same-sex mar­riage legal” while the is­sue is re­viewed.

The U. S. Dis­trict Court of Guam falls un­der the 9th U.S. Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals, which has ruled in fa­vor of gay mar­riage. Bar­rett- An­der­son said her di­rec­tive stems from the 9th Cir­cuit’s de­ci­sion in Oc­to­ber find­ing state bans on gay mar­riage un­con­sti­tu­tional.

The Depart­ment of Public Health and So­cial Ser­vices should treat “all same gen­der mar­riage ap­pli­cants with dig­nity and equal­ity un­der the Con­sti­tu­tion,” the at­tor­ney gen­eral said.

Loretta M. Pan­geli­nan and Kath­leen M. Aguero sued Mon­day in U.S. Dis­trict Court in Guam af­ter their mar­riage ap­pli­ca­tion was re­fused last week. The cou­ple, both 28, says they are chal­leng­ing “the dis­crim­i­na­tory de­nial of their free­dom to marry in the Ter­ri­tory of Guam.”

Guam, which is 3,700 south­west of Hawaii, would be the first of five U.S. Pa­cific and Caribbean ter­ri­to­ries to al­low gay mar­riage.

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