Same-sex couple not giving up on wedding dreams - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Same-sex couple not giving up on wedding dreams

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Together for nearly a decade and foster parents to three children Loretta Pangelinan and Kathleen Aguero want to take their relationship to the next level - marriage.  "Because we love each other and initially we didn't know if it would be allowed here, but we are willing to find out now," stated Aguero.

The lesbian couple attempted to apply for a marriage license at the Department of Public Health, but the clerk would not accept their application because according to Guam law marriage is supposed to be between two individuals of the opposite sex. The couple's attorney, Bill Pesch, says this matter is far from over, noting, "The next logical step is to file a complaint with the federal district court, which we intend to do on Monday."

In a statement issued by Guam attorney general Elizabeth Barrett-Anderson, she says Public Health acted in compliance with Guam law, writing, "Although the definition of marriage is 'consent of parties' which implies gender neutrality, Guam law conditions marriage upon the act of solemnization (i.e. 'I do') that is only permitted between a 'husband and wife.' In 1994 the 22nd Guam Legislature further defined marriage in the public health statutes as a relationship between 'persons of opposite sex.'"

"That provision is under vital statistic definitions it is not under the law concerning the definition of marriage," Pesch clarified, "but it doesn't matter however it strengthens our clients' case because it draws a clear line in the sand between a discriminatory law and the rights of our client."

At the end of this month the US Supreme Court will hear arguments to determine whether same-sex marriage is a constitutional right. Loretta and Kathleen aren't going to wait and feel they should be able to wed now and here on island. The latter continued, "This is where our family and friends are, this is the place we call home. Why should we leave to be able to express that?"

According to Attorney General Barrett-Anderson, "Whether Guam's Statutes will stand or fail will soon be definitively decided by the Supreme Court of the United States for our entire nation and upon that decision Guam will abide." 
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