We often hear about Puerto Rico and its 1/3 yes, 1/3 no, and 1/3 undecided votes to become our 51st state. If we based statehood on equality, maybe another territory will beat them to it?
A lawsuit challenging Puerto Rico’s law defining marriage as between a man and a woman is pending before a federal appeals court in Boston. The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Tuesday it would await the Supreme Court’s decision on the issue before scheduling oral arguments in the Puerto Rico case.
Guam would be the first of five U.S. Pacific and Caribbean territories to allow gay marriage. On Wednesday, Guam’s attorney general Elizabeth Barrett-Anderson directed officials to immediately begin processing same-sex-marriage applications, putting the island on course to be the first U.S. territory to allow gay marriage. – NYPost.com
Why the change now? Loretta M. Pangelinan and Kathleen M. Aguero, filed a lawsuit on Monday against the territory’s marriage laws. After 9 years of being together, the 28 year olds are looking to move forward with their relationship, like any other couple.
Gov. Eddie Baza Calvo’s office in a statement said, “While this current legal issue is being reviewed, if it is the will of the people of Guam to make same-sex marriage legal on Guam, then the Guam Legislature, the people of Guam’s representatives, can take action to change the law, or a referendum can be held giving the people of Guam a direct voice in this issue.”
Barrett-Anderson cited a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision as the basis for her directive. The appeals court in October found state bans on gay marriage were unconstitutional. – NYPost.com
But as usual, citizens are divided and religion is playing a role in the debate. But another issue may be specific to Guam unlike any of our states. That issue is a possible decline in population.
Myrna Cruz, who attends Santa Teresita church in Mangilao, said in Catholicism, same-sex marriage isn't practiced or widely accepted, "but who am I to say that two men or two women can't marry each other?
"If it makes them happy, they should be able to get married and have the same benefits as traditional couples," Cruz said. "We're all human beings."
However, practicing Catholic Ana Flores, said she feels same-sex marriage could be a threat to the island's population.
"If this trend becomes more and more acceptable, the population will decrease faster," Flores said. "We need to save our island."
The article in the archdiocese's newspaper, Umatuna Si Yu'os, stated, "The church is not against persons who may have homosexual tendencies. We are opposed to same-sex unions because it is a threat to the very definition of marriage." – GuamPDN.com
Will Guam become the first Territory to allow same-sex marriages? There is the support of the Attorney General, but it seems there may be a referendum in the future. This would mean further progression toward equal rights for the island's inhabitants, but also, what a wedding / honeymoon destination it would be!