Federal judge strikes down Guam same-sex marriage ban

Federal judge strikes down Guam same-sex marriage ban

The chief judge for the US District Court of Guam [official website] on Friday struck down the territory’s same-sex marriage ban. The ruling came in a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] filed in April by same-sex couple Kathleen Aguero and Loretta Pangelinan after they were denied a marriage license. Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood ruled from the bench [AP report] after a hearing Friday morning, finding the ban violates the couple’s right to equal protection under the law. The ruling is set to take effect Tuesday morning. A written decision is expected to follow.

In April Guam’s attorney general directed officials to begin processing same-sex marriage applications [JURIST report], but the Department of Public Health and Social Services refused the request until a legal opinion was released. The US Supreme Court is expected to rule on the issue of same-sex marriage by the end of June. The court heard oral arguments [JURIST report] in Obergefell v. Hodges [SCOTUSblog materials] in April.