Guam becomes marriage equality territory … but then it doesn’t

Posted on 15 Apr 2015 at 11:12am
Elizabeth Barrett-Anderson

Attorney General Elizabeth Barrett-Anderson

Guam’s attorney general, Elizabeth Barrett-Anderson, told the island’s Department of Public Health to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples earlier today (Wednesday, April 15).

But later in the day, the governor and lieutenant governor issued a statement that while they respect the opinion of the attorney general, either the legislature should change the marriage law or a referendum should be held on marriage equality before the licenses are issued, according to the Guam Pacific Daily News.

The issue of whether to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples is currently under review by the territory’s administration. So far, no U.S. territories have marriage equality.

Guam is a U.S. territory in the North Pacific halfway between Japan and Australia, 3,950 miles west of Hawaii. Guam sits across the international dateline and is 15 hours ahead of Dallas.

Meanwhile, a lawsuit aimed at overturning Puerto Rico’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples is on hold, pending a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court this term.

The First Circuit Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction over Puerto Rico, said that it will not schedule oral arguments in the case until a ruling comes down from SCOTUS this summer. Puerto Rico is no longer defending the territory’s marriage ban.

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