A federal judge in Puerto Rico on Tuesday upheld Puerto Rico’s same-sex marriage ban stating the island is exempt from applying the United States Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling.
BREAKING: Federal Judge Perez Gimenez decided today that gay marriage should not be recognized by Puerto Rico because it's a US territory
— LGBT Puerto Rico (@lgbtpr) March 8, 2016
U.S. District Court Judge Juan Perez Jimenez ruled that Puerto Rico’s current ban on same sex marriage is valid because the island remains an unincorporated territory rather than a state. This means that constitutional rights, including the Fourteenth Amendment, which guarantees equal protection under law, do not automatically apply to Puerto Rico.
Perez Jimenez previously upheld the ban in 2014, before the U.S. Supreme Court struck down marriage bans in 2015.
Federal Judge: No Marriage Equality In Puerto Rico https://t.co/GP1UkoNAtb pic.twitter.com/Icy9mkgJKS
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) March 9, 2016
It is unclear how this ruling will affect existing same sex marriages performed after the Supreme Court decision to strike down equal marriage bans, or if the question will be returned to the Court.
Judge Perez Jimenez’s ruling stated that marriage equality could be extended to the island by an amendment or repeal the current ban known as Article 68 of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico’s Constitution, or if the U.S. Congress enacts legislation to incorporate Puerto Rico as a state.