Same gender marriage now legal in Guam

Earlier in the year, in Guam, a same gender couple launched legal action after being refused a marriage licence.

Loretta M. Pangelinan and Kathleen M. Aguero, both 28, sued after the registrar refused them a license because Guam law defines marriage as a union between two people of the opposite sex.

The Attorney-General said a licence should be issued but the Governor opposed the move asking for a stay until a similar case is resolved by the US Supreme Court in June.

Last Friday the District Court of Guam ruled that the two women must be allowed to wed, making it the first U.S. territory to to make same gender marriage legal.

More than 80 percent of the residents of Guam are Catholic.

The Catholic Church helped defeat a bill seeking to legalise same gender unions in 2009.

Since the legal challenge was raised, the Church has continued to speak out against same gender marriage.

In April, in the local Catholic newspaper Umatuna Si Yu’os the archdiocese called on the governor, the Guam Legislature and people of goodwill, “To end this assault on the very foundation of our traditional, cultural and religious patrimony.”

Father Francis Walsh, from the Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Yona, was reported as saying the church is “not against persons who may have homosexual tendencies” but is opposed to same-sex unions because “it is a threat to the very definition of marriage.”

“When we take the gift of sexuality and use it for other purposes we are turning it inside upside down and therefore it becomes intrinsically disordered when it is no longer ordered to express love in the service of life,” he said.

The lawyer for the Guam couple likely to be the first same-sex couple to marry in the Pacific says he is proud the island has recognised marriage equality.

In the other two US Pacific territories, American Samoa and the Northern Marianas — no gay or lesbian couples have made a legal case for marriage rights.


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News category: Asia Pacific.

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