March 21, 2016 at 5:14 pm EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Lambda Legal challenges Puerto Rico marriage ruling

Puerto Rico, gay news, Washington Blade

Lambda Legal has challenged a federal judge’s ruling that said the U.S. Supreme Court decision that extended marriage rights to same-sex couples throughout the country does not apply to Puerto Rico. (Image by Raimond Spekking)

Lambda Legal on Monday petitioned a federal appeals court to intervene in a Puerto Rico same-sex marriage case.

The LGBT legal group in a press release said it filed a mandamus petition with the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston. The motion asks the federal appeals court to “make clear” that last June’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the Obergefell case that extended marriage rights to same-sex couples across the country applies to Puerto Rico.

“It is undeniable that the holding of the U.S. Supreme Court in Obergefell is applicable to the commonwealth of Puerto Rico, either under the Fifth or the 14th Amendment,” writes Lambda Legal in its petition.

The 1st Circuit in July 2015 ruled the U.S. commonwealth’s same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional. U.S. District Court Judge Juan Pérez-Giménez earlier this month said the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the Obergefell case does not apply to Puerto Rico because it is not a state.

Ada Conde Vidal and Ivonne Álvarez Vélez of San Juan filed a lawsuit against Puerto Rico’s same-sex marriage ban in U.S. District Court in 2014. Four additional gay and lesbian couples along with Lambda Legal and Puerto Rico Para Tod@s, a Puerto Rican LGBT advocacy group, later joined the case.

Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro García Padilla’s administration announced last March that it would no longer defend the island’s same-sex marriage ban.

Justice Minister César Miranda in a statement he issued in response to Pérez-Giménez’s ruling said it “does not alter the validity of marriages into which same-sex couples have entered in Puerto Rico.”

Alejandro García Padilla, Puerto Rico, Washington Blade, gay news

Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro García Padilla‘s administration in 2015 announced it would no longer defend the U.S. commonwealth’s same-sex marriage ban. (Public domain photo by the U.S. Department of Labor)

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

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