Phillips wants to wait on same-sex issue - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Phillips wants to wait on same-sex issue

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Special Assistant Attorney General Mike Phillips is asking to push pause on the case before the District Court of Guam, challenging the island's marriage laws. "The request is just to stay the legal proceedings," the lawyer explained.

That case was filed by Loretta Pangelinan and Kathleen Aguero. The long-time same-sex couple was denied an opportunity to file for a marriage license at Public Health on April 8. Days later they filed a suit in the District Court against Governor Eddie Calvo and vital statistics registrar Carolyn Garrido. With the US Supreme Court expected to issue a ruling on whether the constitution give same-sex couples the right to marry, Phillips, who has been appointed to represent Calvo and Garrido, writes, "History is on the verge of being significantly shaped once more, and proceeding with this case before the supreme court has had a chance to opine would be a waste of judicial and party resources."

He added, "I think most people can see that whichever way the Supreme Court goes it's going to bring finality or at least for a long time resolution to the current debate." But instead of a pause, the plaintiffs' attorneys argue the government should follow the October ruling from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in Latta v. Otter, which held that state bans on marriages by persons of the same gender are unconstitutional.

Attorney Todd Thompson said, "The law is clear the facts are undisputed - there's absolutely no reason , they didn't give us any reason on why we should hold off except that the Supreme Court might issue a ruling in two months that might say one thing or the other that's all they've said they don't even say that they oppose same-sex couples. They really don't have much to fight with, they're really isn't much that they're saying to us. There really is not reason that this lawsuit should continue. This should be a done deal."

Attorney Phillips, however, says it's not, telling KUAM News, "In this case, there is no such order for either our local legislation, nor is there ruling or order that involves the governor of Guam, and so to ask that he for example behave in a certain way because we know the 9th Circuit has ordered other states to behave in one way when they've been named in parties and have worked their way all the way to the 9th Circuit, that's something that just not going to happen."

District Court of Guam Chief Judge Frances Tydingco Gatewood has ordered briefs on the motion to pause the case be filed by the plaintiffs this Thursday, while the defendants have until Friday to file their response.

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