Heartbroken and infuriated, at the same time, are only a couple of the emotions that many gay couples are feeling right now in the US territory of Guam. On April 15th, the Attorney General of the island territory directed officials to begin processing same-sex marriage applications. These officials refused, and after a few days, the Governor declared that there will be no same-sex marriage until it is the “will of the people of Guam.” But, there’s a problem with that. The Governor’s actions may be technically illegal.
Back in October 2014, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, whose decisions have controlling precedent over federal courts in Guam, ruled, in Latta v. Otter, that Idaho’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, thus allowing same-sex marriage in Idaho, and by extension, in Guam.
Furthermore, another, 9th Circuit decision at the same time, in Sevcik v. Sandoval, overturned the ban in Nevada, and soon after, by extension, Alaska, Montana and Arizona, and, by further extension, Guam.
The 9th Circuit which has jurisdiction in the states already mentioned above, includes California, Oregon, and Washington, also has jurisdiction in the Northern Mariana Islands, as well as Guam, so that court decisions by the 9th Circuit should be binding precedent in each and every state and territory within the 9th Circuit.
Despite this, same-sex couple continue to be denied marriage licenses in Guam.
To read more on this, including a heartfelt article and video by David Cruz III, a cast member of Bravo TV’s The Millionaire Matchmaker, please click below:
huffingtonpost: David Cruz III, “My Fight for Marriage Equality on Guam”
nypost: Associated Press: “Guam is first US territory to allow gay marriage” – [not quite]
wikipedia: Same-Sex Marriage in Guam
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