July 13, 2015 at 12:52 pm EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Same-sex couples apply for marriage licenses in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico, gay news, Washington Blade

Same-sex couples in Puerto Rico on July 13, 2015, began applying for marriage licenses. (Graphic by Raimond Spekking)

Same-sex couples in Puerto Rico on Monday began to apply for licenses that will allow them to marry in the U.S. commonwealth.

Gays and lesbians who receive a marriage license have 10 days to use it, according to Puerto Rican law. The first same-sex marriages on the island are expected to take place on Wednesday.

“A more fair, more humane country dawns today,” said Pedro Julio Serrano, founder of Puerto Rico Para Tod@s, an LGBT advocacy group on the island, in a press release, according to the newspaper Primera Hora. “The reality is that LGBTT couples have never needed a license to validate our love. But it is fair and we deserve all rights.”

The U.S. Supreme Court last month ruled that same-sex couples have the constitutional right to marry throughout the country.

A three-judge panel with the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last week ruled Puerto Rico’s same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional. Gov. Alejandro García Padilla’s administration earlier this year announced it would no longer defend the law that five same-sex couples and Puerto Rico Para Tod@s challenged.

Puerto Rico will join the Caribbean islands of St. Martin, St. Barthelemy, Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, Saba, Martinique and Guadeloupe in which same-sex couples can legally marry.

U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Kenneth Mapp on July 10 signed an executive order that requires officials in the territory to abide by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the Obergefell case.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

  • Aron Sasportas

    Good news actually comes from four of the five inhabited territories of the United States. The headline says it all:

    Report 133b – Progress in four of the five inhabited territories of the United States: on 13 July 2015, lawful same-gender civil marriage [1] has been a reality in Guam since 9 June 2015, [2] became a reality in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico today, [3] is on the doorstep in the Virgin Islands of the United States and in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and [4] may arrive late in American Samoa

    The report appears in “Equal Human Rights and Civil Rights for All Persons, No
    Matter Their Gender, No Matter Their Sexual Orientation: An Interpretive Newsletter” (www.humciv.com).

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