Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico

Conde Vidal v. Rius Armendariz

What's Happening:

On March 20, 2015, Puerto Rico Secretary of Defense César Miranda announced that the Puerto Rican government would no longer defend the territory's marriage ban and filed a brief to the 1st Circuit explaining why.

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 a legal challenge to Puerto Rico's marriage ban.

Lambda Legal staff attorney Omar Gonzalez-Pagan said following the ruling: "The court's ruling directly conflicts with the wave of recent decisions finding these marriage bans unconstitutional and perpetuates the discrimination and harm done to same-sex Puerto Rican couples and their families. It defies the unmistakable import of the Windsor decision and flies in the face of the blizzard of rulings of the last year, the reasoned rulings of the Courts of Appeals for the 4th, 7th, 9th and 10th Circuits, and the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to let stand the rulings striking down five bans similar to Puerto Rico's. One struggles to understand how this judge came to a different conclusion. We will, of course, appeal this ruling to the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals. All families in Puerto Rico need the protections of marriage."

Case Background:

On March 25, 2014, a same-sex couple in Puerto Rico filed a federal lawsuit seeking legal respect for their marriage license in Puerto Rico. Article 68 of the Civil Code in Puerto Rico denies same-sex couples the freedom to marry or respect for legal marriage licenses. The lawsuit urges the judge to strike down Article 68. In June, Lambda Legal joined the team.

The lawsuit is filed by Ada Mercedes Conde Vidal, a leader of a human rights organization in Puerto Rico, and her wife Ivonne Alvarez Velez. The women married in Massachusetts in 2004 and are now seeking respect for their marriage where they live, in Puerto Rico.

(Thanks to Equality Case Files for legal documents, Below)

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