1st Circuit rules in favor of gay marriage in Puerto Rico case

From Lawyer Herald:

In a ruling that has both civil, as well as geo-political undertones, the US First Circuit Court of Appeals upholds the constitutionality of same-sex marriage in Puerto Rico.

The US Appeals Court declared the District Court’s ban on gay marriage as unconstitutional, even throwing the judge off the case in an extraordinary step to dramatize its indignation over the decision, reported BuzzFeedNews. In an unsigned opinion the court strongly chastised the action of US District Court Judge Juan Perez-Gimenez and ordered that the case “be assigned randomly by the clerk to a different judge to enter judgment in favor of the Petitioners promptly.”

First Circuit Judges Juan Torruella, Ojetta Rogeriee Thompson, and William Joseph Kayatta Jr. heard the appellate action but the opinion was issued “per curiam,” meaning, “by the court” – as such, it does not have to be signed by any particular judge or judges.

In October 2014 Perez-Gimenez had ruled in favor of the ban but the same appeals court, the First District, returned the case to his bench after the US Supreme Court struck down gay marriage bans nationwide in the landmark case of Obergefell v. Hodge. Perez-Gimenez was ordered to reconsider the matter in light of Obergefell with the appeals court informing him they agreed with the appellants that the ban was unconstitutional. Notwithstanding the order Perez-Gimenez ruled in favor of the ban for the second time, arguing that the US Supreme Court ruling does not apply to Puerto Rico which is a territory and not a state.

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