Puerto Rico upholds gay marriage ban

A federal judge in Puerto Rico upheld the territory’s gay marriage ban in an opinion Tuesday that could reignite legal challenges against same-sex marriage in some Northeastern states.

“Ultimately the very survival of the political order depends upon the procreative potential embodied in traditional marriage,” U.S. District Court Judge Juan Pérez-Giménez said.

{mosads}The decision relies heavily on a 1972 case where the Supreme Court dismissed a gay couple’s appeal of Minnesota’s law against same-sex marriage. Most other federal courts have rejected that view, arguing that developments since then — most notably the Supreme Court’s decision to abolish the Defense Against Marriage Act (DOMA) — make that case moot. 

Judge Pérez-Giménez argues that the DOMA case, U.S. v. Windsor, furthered the idea that states have the authority to decide how to define marriage and didn’t create a “fundamental right to same-sex marriage.”

“One basic principle remains,” he wrote, “the people, acting through their elected representatives, may legitimately regulate marriage by law.”

As a U.S. territory, Puerto Rico falls under the jurisdiction of the First Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Boston. The court also hears cases from Rhode Island, Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. All of those states have currently legalized gay marriage. The First Circuit is likely to take up an appeal to reconcile the conflicting status of gay marriage in its jurisdiction.  

Last month, the Supreme Court decided not to take up any appeals on same-sex marriage, a move that immediately affirmed same-sex marriage in five states and had broad-reaching implications for those who support gay marriage. 


Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

See all Hill.TV See all Video

Most Popular

Load more


See all Video