Federal judge to hear arguments on Guam same-sex marriage ban

Loretta M. Pangelinan, left, and Kathleen M. Aguero in front of the U.S. District Court in Hagatna, Guam.

Loretta M. Pangelinan, left, and Kathleen M. Aguero in front of the U.S. District Court in Hagatna, Guam. Grace Garces Bordallo, AP

Loretta M. Pangelinan, left, and Kathleen M. Aguero in front of the U.S. District Court in Hagatna, Guam. Grace Garces Bordallo, AP

Loretta M. Pangelinan, left, and Kathleen M. Aguero in front of the U.S. District Court in Hagatna, Guam.

HAGATNA, Guam — A federal judge in Guam is scheduled to hear arguments Friday in a lawsuit challenging the U.S. territory’s same-sex marriage ban.

If Guam allows gay marriage, it would be the first U.S. territory to do so.

Loretta M. Pangelinan and Kathleen M. Aguero filed the lawsuit in April after the 28-year-old women were denied a marriage license, the Pacific Daily News in Hagatna reported.

They based their lawsuit on a 9th U.S. Circuit Court Of Appeals decision last year in favor of same-sex marriage. The U.S. District Court of Guam falls under the 9th Circuit.

Attorneys for the Guam plaintiffs have said the territory must fall in line with the 9th Circuit decision and accept marriage license applications unless the Supreme Court rules otherwise.

Lawyers for Guam Gov. Eddie Calvo and the Office of Vital Statistics registrar have said making a decision when a ruling from the high court is imminent is impractical.

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Calvo has said the island’s same-sex marriage law is “being challenged by federal judges that were nominated by a U.S. president and confirmed by a U.S Senate, none of whom were elected through a process that included the people of Guam.”

Guam residents are U.S. citizens, but they don’t have the right to cast ballots for president. The territory elects a delegate to the U.S. House, but the delegate may not vote on legislation. Guam has no representation in the U.S. Senate.

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