Victory: Judge strikes down Guam’s marriage ban
June 05, 2015
Today, June 5, a federal judge in Guam struck down the U.S. territory's ban on marriage between same-sex couples.
George W. Bush-appointed U.S. District Court Judge Frances M. Tydingco-Gatewood ruled from the bench last night, after hearing oral arguments in a case. The case, Aguero et. al. v Calvo et. al., was brought by Loretta M. Pangelinan and Kathleen M. Aguero in April after they tried to get a marriage license and were denied.
The ruling is stayed until Tuesday, June 9, 8 am local time, which is when Judge Tydingco-Gatewood will also release her written opinion. The judge ruled in line with the 9th Circuit's previous decision in favor of the freedom to marry in Latta v. Otter, which ended the marriage ban in Idaho, and Sevcik v. Sandoval, which ended the marriage ban in Nevada:
Guam's marriage laws are unconstitutional because they violate the plaintiffs' rights under the 14th amendment of the United States Constitution. Accordingly, the court shall permanently enjoin the territory of Guam and its officers...from enforcing...any laws or regulations to the extent they prohibit otherwise qualified same-sex couples from marrying in Guam.
Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry, emphasized the momentum for marriage ahead of a decision from the United States Supreme Court on the question of the freedom to marry:
Guam’s same-sex couples and their loved ones want and deserve the freedom to marry and all that marriage can bring -- protections, security, and respect. We can now add Guam’s voice to the momentum across America, and hope the Supreme Court will this month ensure that no other families, and no state, are left behind.
Last May, attorneys for the government of Guam wrote that they would respect a ruling to strike down the territory's marriage ban.
Freedom to Marry congratulates Kathleen and Loretta, as well as other same-sex couples who are finally respected in Guam, on this decision, and applauds Judge Tydingco-Gatwood for ruling on the right side of history.
Watch Judge Tydingco-Gatewood's ruling below: