Same-sex marriage will be allowed on Guam
History was made today at the District Court of Guam where same-sex couple Loretta Pangelinan and Kathleen Aguero took their fight for marriage equality and won.
Aguero said, "We are excited, thank you! First I just want to thank everybody. I just want to thank my family, her family, our whole entire family, our friends for coming and supporting us. We couldn't have done any of this without any of you guys," proclaimed . When asked what the next step is for the couple, they said planning their wedding.
It has been eight weeks since the same-sex couple were denied the opportunity to apply for a marriage license at the Department of Public Health's Vital Statistics Registrar and this morning District Court Chief Judge Frances Tydingco Gatewood heard arguments for the motions of preliminary injunction and summary judgment presented by the plaintiff's legal counsel. While they presented a strong case warranting Gatewood to grant their motions the defendants Governor Eddie Calvo and Public Health registrar Carolyn Garrido's attorney Mike Phillips presented no opposition. In fact, according to Phillips all the governor was requesting was an order from the court striking current Guam marriage laws that define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. "Just thank you, you did what you needed to do and we appreciate it but most especially to our lawyers they burned that midnight oil to help us so we appreciate it," she added.
Despite thanking the governor they shared that it was a battle they should not have had to fight and according to couple's attorney, Todd Thompson, it should not have come to this. "It's a shame that a lot of taxpayer money had to be spent to funding this issue that was really unnecessary if the governor had just said when the attorney general made her opinion that they would have followed along the tax payers would have saved a lot of money and this would have been resolved eight weeks ago," he said.
With no opposition Judge Gatewood cited case law which upholds that when a 9th Circuit Court issues a decision in a matter the District Court of Guam is bound to follow the ruling. And after 15 minutes of deliberation Judge Gatewood ruled a summary judgment, striking Guam's marriage laws and any other relative laws, thereby allowing same sex marriage.
Thompson said, "We are happy to say that today the last jurisdiction in the 9th Circuit where this had been an issue has now been resolved and Guam can now hold its head high and say that we weren't part of that last 16, 13 states that are left that are refusing to recognize same-sex marriage. We are very proud today we are very proud of our judge very proud to be Guamanians."
On this momentous day in Guam's history, Chief Judge Gatewood stated that beginning on June 9 the Department of Public Health vital registrar is to being accepting marriage applications from same-sex couples - and marriage equality on Guam is now a reality.