SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Lambda Legal on Sept. 15 urged a federal court to rule in favor of marriage rights for same-sex couples in a lawsuit a Puerto Rican lesbian couple filed earlier this year.
“All families deserve to have their love and commitment recognized in Puerto Rico; they need the protections only marriage can provide as soon as possible without discrimination,” said Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, a staff attorney for Lambda Legal, after the organization filed a request with the U.S. District Court of Puerto Rico in San Juan seeking a summary judgment in the case “Every day that passes, our gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender family members are told they are inferior to our other family members. They are living, working and caring for each other now and need the dignity and respect of marriage.”
Ada Conde Vidal and Ivonne Álvarez Velez of San Juan in March filed a lawsuit seeking recognition of their Massachusetts marriage. Four other same-sex couples; Lambda Legal and Puerto Rico Para Tod@s, a Puerto Rican LGBT advocacy group, joined the women’s case in June.
Puerto Rican lawmakers in 1999 amended the U.S. commonwealth’s civil code to ban recognition of same-sex marriages — even those legally performed in other jurisdictions.
Gov. Alejandro García Padilla supports civil unions for gays and lesbians, but his administration late last month filed a motion with the court to dismiss the marriage lawsuit.
“Every day that passes, our gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender family members are told they are inferior to our family members,” said Gonzalez-Pagan. “They are living, working and caring for each other now and need the dignity and respect of marriage.”
Gays and lesbians are able to legally marry in 19 states and D.C.
Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court on Sept. 29 are scheduled to discuss whether they will consider any of the seven petitions to hear same-sex marriage cases from Virginia, Utah, Oklahoma, Indiana and Wisconsin.