Puerto Rico Gets Its First Same-Sex Marriage Lawsuit
A Puerto Rico same-sex couple -- the first to legally marry in Massachusetts -- is suing Puerto Rico for the right to have their marriage legally recognized. Ada Mercedes Conde Vidal and Ivonne Alvarez Perez filed suit yesterday, stating their Fourteenth Amendment rights are being violated. Recently, five federal judges have struck down state bans on same-sex marriage on the basis of Fourteenth Amendment violations.
A 1999 law bans same-sex couples from marrying in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory where statehood has been frequently discussed.
Noting that this "is the first time that someone has filed a lawsuit of this kind in the jurisdiction of Puerto Rico," the AP reports Conde's lawsuit "comes as the debate on gay rights intensifies in Puerto Rico, where legislators and religious groups have recently clashed on several issues."
LGBT and human rights activist Pedro Julio Serrano has asked the governor of Puerto Rico, Alejandro GarcÃa Padilla, the Justice Secretary Cesar Miranda and Puerto Rico's Attorney General not to defend the state's ban on same-sex marriage in court, according to a Google translation of an article in Metro.pr, a news site in Puerto Rico.
"I invite the Governor and Cabinet to take this demand to be on the right side of history. Keep in mind that, before long, the federal courts in Texas, Utah, Kentucky, Virginia and Michigan have ruled in favor of equality for same-sex couples. Marriage equality is inevitable. It will happen. That is why the Governor should not defend the indefensible in this lawsuit," said Serrano.
Finally, the activist invited other same-sex couples who have not yet married who file similar lawsuits in federal court to also recognize the right to marry in Puerto Rico. "It is time in this country that we can have the same right as heterosexual couples to marry and to access all the benefits, rights and protections that the State confers. It's time for equality."