Guam Becomes The First U.S. Territory To Welcome Marriage Equality

You Go, Guam!

On June 5, a judge in Guam ruled in favor of marriage equality. The decision was the result of a lawsuit filed by Loretta Pangelinan and Kathleen Aguero, a couple who'd been denied a marriage license back in April. Guam will start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples on June 9, making it the first of the US Territories -- which also include the US Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and the Northern Marianas Islands -- to do so.

“It’s a battle we shouldn’t have had to fight,” Aguero said in an interview with Pacific Daily News. “I mean, it’s love and love must win, so we’re grateful.”

As John Oliver has pointed out, Guam residents are considered US citizens, but they don't have the right to vote in elections. Guam elects a delegate to the House, but that delegate isn't allowed to vote on legislation, and Guam isn't allowed any representation in the Senate.

According to the Guardian, Guam's governor Eddie Calvo was opposed to overturning Guam's ban on gay marriage, and said the pending Supreme Court decision is irrelevant because Guam's own law banning same-sex marriage is "being challenged by federal judges that were nominated by a US president and confirmed by a US Senate, none of whom were elected through a process that included the people of Guam."

The attorneys arguing on Pangelinan's and Aguero's behalf ultimately won because despite islanders' inability to vote, Guam falls under the jurisdiction of the US 9th circuit, which ruled in favor of marriage equality last year. Gay marriage is now legal in 36 states, the District of Columbia, and Guam. Before the end of the month, the Supreme Court is expected to rule on whether gay marriage is legal nationwide.