Guam has lifted its ban on same-sex marriage

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Pacific US territory Guam has lifted its ban on same-sex marriage, as an alternative to defending itself against a lawsuit brought by a gay couple.

The Guam attorney general Barrett-Anderson this week announced that she had ordered that marriage licences be processed for same-sex couples.

“Today I have issued a legal memorandum… advising the department to immediately begin accepting and processing applications for marriage licences from persons of the same gender,” she said in a statement.

The announcement came after couple Loretta Pangelinan and Kathleen Aguero filed a lawsuit last week after their application for a marriage licence was rejected.

Officials had previously said marriage can only take place “between a man and a woman” on the island of around 165,000 people.

Barrett-Anderson’s announcement went on to say: “Guam’s statute prohibiting same gender marriages [is] unenforceable”, despite that she last week argued that officials were just upholding the law.

Some reports suggest that Guam Governor Eddie Calvo will seek to block same-sex marriage, but attorneys acting for the gay couple said they were delighted with the change of position and that they would continue to fight any future attempt to block it.