Phillips files latest documents in marriage equality case - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Phillips files latest documents in marriage equality case

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As the US Supreme Court deliberates on the Constitutionality of same-sex marriage, on Guam Special Assistant Attorney General Mike Phillips, who represents Governor Eddie Calvo and Public Health's vital statistics registrar Carolyn Garrido, files the latest documents in the ongoing marriage equality case in federal court.

On behalf of the government, Phillips filed a memorandum of points and authorities opposing a request for preliminary injunction and summary judgment. Governor Calvo and Garrido were named as defendants in a case filed in the District Court of Guam by Kathleen Aguero and Loretta Pangelinan. In April the same-sex couple was denied the opportunity to apply for a marriage license at Public Health. The couple is challenging the Constitutionality of Guam law, which defines marriage as being between a man and a woman.

However, Phillips states Guam laws do not deprive the plaintiffs of Constitutional rights, adding that "same-sex marriage is not a constitutionally protected fundamental right."

According to court documents Governor Calvo and Garrido argue that neither participated in the formation of Guam's marriage laws nor did they voluntarily choose to be involved in the dispute. They further state that the governor and Garrido do not have personal knowledge of most of the facts presented and likewise do not know which interpretation of the law is correct.

The basis of the same-sex couple's case is a 9th Circuit Court ruling in Latta v. Otter, which deems marriage equality a Constitutional right. However, Phillips contends that other cases within the 9th Circuit seems to stay proceedings. Because of this they are asking the court to consider the impending decision expected from the US Supreme Court and reserve decisions until after the Supreme Court speaks issues a ruling on the matter.

The District Court does hold the authority to strike current Guam law and require Public Health to accept same-sex marriage applications. According to Phillips should the court temporarily suspend Guam's marriage laws Governor Calvo would abide by the court's decision without the need for a direct order. In response to this latest filing Attorney Todd Thompson says that the government's response is essentially a non-opposition to the motions and that he will be asking the court to immediately issue a preliminary injunction and summary judgment.

The District Court is scheduled to hear the case on June 5.

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