Puerto Rico’s ban on same-sex marriage struck down

The ban on same-sex marriage in the US territory of Puerto Rico has been struck down.

The US Supreme Court last month ruled that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right in all 50 states – but the ruling did not immediately apply in Puerto Rico, which has a population of 3.5 million.

Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla had indicated that the territory will follow suit on same-sex marriage – and today the First Circuit Court of Appeals struck down its marriage ban.

A panel of three judges overturned a previous ruling upholding the ban, finding that following the US-wide ruling in Obergefell v Hodges, Puerto Rico must also adopt same-sex marriage.

District Judge Juan Perez-Gimenez was just one of two district judges to uphold a same-sex marriage ban in 2014.

In his ruling, Judge Perez-Gimenez cited a ruling from 1972 against same-sex marriage – which almost all other judges in the country agreed had been rendered obsolete by subsequent case law – and claimed: “Recent affirmances of same-gender marriage seem to suffer from a peculiar inability to recall the principles embodied in existing marriage law.”

Given the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals disagreed, and his ruling has now been overturned.

Same-sex weddings are expected to begin in Puerto Rico next week, on July 15.