Big Step Forward: Puerto Rico will no longer defend marriage discrimination

Today, March 20, 2015, the Puerto Rican government announced that it would no longer defend the territory's ban on marriage between same-sex couples. The announcement was made today at a press conference given by Puerto Rico's Secretary of Justice, César Miranda.

The announcement was in reference to the case Conde Vidal v. Rius Armendariz, which was filed by a same-sex couple seeking respect for their marriage in Puerto Rico. The couple married in Massachusetts in 2004, but their marriage is not respected in Puerto Rico. On October 21, U.S. District Court Judge Juan Perez-Gimenez broke from the nearly 50 judges in states across the country who have ruled in favor of the freedom to marry this year by dismissing this case. The case is now before the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Puerto Rican government has filed a brief to the 1st Circuit explaining that they would not defend the ban any longer.

Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry, applauded the decision:

We commend the Puerto Rican government for their journey on marriage. The announcement today follows a long list of elected officials, including conservatives and Latino U.S. representatives such as Linda Sanchez, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, and Joaquin Castro, who believe that there is no legitimate reason for marriage discrimination against same-sex couples, and no place for it in law. A majority of Latinos support marriage, a majority of states have the freedom to marry for same-sex couples, and loving and committed same-sex couples in Puerto Rico should not be left out. As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear marriage cases next month, this makes clear that all of America is ready for the freedom to marry.

The Puerto Rican government's announcement further indicates the growing support for the freedom to marry across the country, and the necessity for a national resolution from the United States Supreme Court this summer that brings the freedom to marry to the country as a whole.