BuzzFeed News

Reporting To You

politics / Guam Attorney General Calls For Marriage Equality "Immediately," Other State Officials Hold Off

Guam Attorney General Calls For Marriage Equality "Immediately," Other State Officials Hold Off

The head of the agency that processes licenses, however, says there will be no decision on the issue until Friday. The letter from Guam's attorney general came days after a lawsuit was filed against the territory.

Last updated on April 15, 2015, at 12:28 a.m. ET

Posted on April 14, 2015, at 11:53 p.m. ET

Loretta Pangelinan, left, and Kathleen Aguero, pose in front of the U.S. District Court in Hagatna, Guam on April 11, 2015.
Grace Garces Bordallo / AP

Loretta Pangelinan, left, and Kathleen Aguero, pose in front of the U.S. District Court in Hagatna, Guam on April 11, 2015.

WASHINGTON — Guam officials have been advised to begin the processing of same-sex couples' marriage applications, a representative of Guam Attorney General Elizabeth Barrett-Anderson confirmed to BuzzFeed News.

The processing was to begin "immediately," according to a letter from Barrett-Anderson dated April 15, which was first reported by the Pacific News Center.

The head of the Department of Public Health and Social Services, however, told Guampdn.com that there will not be marriage licenses for same-sex couples on Wednesday.

A later statement from the governor and lieutenant governor said that the administration "respects the opinion" of Barrett-Anderson, and that the governor's legal team is reviewing her position and conducting research on the issue, according to a report from Guampdn.com.

The letter from the attorney general comes two days after a couple who were denied a marriage license, Loretta Pangelinan and Kathleen Aguero, sued in federal court. The federal courts in Guam are within the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which held in October 2014 that Idaho and Nevada's similar bans were unconstitutional.

In the letter, Barrett Anderson writes that "in accordance with the Ninth Circuit's holding, and pending further ruling from the Supreme Court, the Department [of Public Health and Social Services] is herein advised to immediately begin processing of same gender marriage applications, and to review such applications in the normal course of business."

Leo Casil, the acting director of the public health department, told Guampdn.com, however, "From my side, I just received a letter. It's not a legal opinion. It's a letter urging to issue the marriage licenses from the attorney general." He said no decision on the issue would be made until Friday.

This article has been updated to include comments from the head of the Guam Department of Public Health and Social Services.

This article has been updated to include comments from the governor.

Pacific News Center / Via pacificnewscenter.com

Support our journalism

Help BuzzFeed News reporters expose injustices and keep quality news free.

Start
ADVERTISEMENT