Guam's Attorney General (Elizabeth Barrett-Anderson), an independent, has directed Guam's Public Health Department to begin issuing licenses for same-sex marriages.
From the Guam Pacific Daily News (full article here):
The attorney general said she is directing the island's public health department to immediately start issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples.
"The Department is advised to treat all same gender marriage applicants with dignity and equality under the Constitution of our nation, and the ruling of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals," Attorney General Elizabeth Barrett-Anderson said in a legal memorandum to Public Health's acting Director Leo Casil.
Her decision was based on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals' Oct. 7, 2014, decision, according to the memo.
That decision made Guam's marriage law unenforceable till a U.S. Supreme Court decision, she said.
"While the (Public Health) Department was acting in accordance with Guam law, the Ninth Circuit's recent decision has rendered Guam's marriage statute legally unenforceable until such time that the Supreme Court of the United States alters the holding of the Ninth Circuit of Appeals," she stated in the memo.
The case was filed Monday by lawyers representing Kathleen M. Aguero and Loretta M. Pangelinan, two Guam women seeking to get married locally.
It names Gov. Eddie Calvo (R) and the Office of Vital Statistics registrar as defendants.
Their case challenges an existing law that restricts marriage to different-sex couples.
Attorneys for the couple are basing their arguments in Latta vs. Otter.
In that case, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that marriage laws that exclude same-sex couples are unconstitutional.
Because Guam falls under the Ninth Circuit, the lawsuit alleges that Guam has no basis to continue to enforce laws that a higher court have already deemed unconstitutional.
That turned the Guam government upside down. The Public Health Department has stated it will not do so. Governor Calvo stated he would make a statement Wednesday.
Of the United States's territories, that makes Guam the first to allow same-sex marriage, though a case is pending before the 1st Circuit Court in Boston from Puerto Rico.
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