Guam governor wants a referendum to decide gay marriage

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 15, 2015 6:15 AM

HAGATNA (Reuters) - The governor of Guam, a tiny U.S. territory in the Pacific, on Wednesday backed legislation allowing same sex marriage but said the issue, which has sharply divided Americans, should be put to a referendum.

Guam's attorney general has written to the public health department urging it to start accepting and processing marriage license applications from same-sex couples, two days after a gay couple sued the government in court.

Loretta Pangelinan and Kathleen Aguero had filed a case before the U.S. District Court in Guam on Monday after they were denied a marriage license application.

Citing a decision from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Elizabeth Barret-Anderson said on Wednesday gay marriages were constitutional. "Marriage is a fundamental right which cannot be denied based on gender," she said in a memo.

In 2009, a bill proposing to legalize civil union between same-sex couples did not pass after a debate that polarized the predominantly Roman Catholic community.

Hold The Damn Vote Already
Derek Hunter

"The Guam legislature, the people of Guam's representatives, can take action to change the law, or a referendum can be held giving the people of Guam a direct voice in this issue," the governor, Eddie Calvo, said in a statement.

(Reporting by Maureen Maratita; Writing by Manuel Mogato; Editing By Jeremy Laurence)