Federal Judge Upholds Puerto Rico’s Gay Marriage Ban

A federal judge on Tuesday upheld Puerto Rico’s ban on gay marriage, saying that allowing such unions could lead to plural and incestuous marriages.

U.S. District Judge Juan M. Perez-Gimenez is the second federal judge since the Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) last year to uphold such a ban. Last month, a federal judge upheld Louisiana’s ban.

In his 21-page ruling, Perez-Gimenez cited a 1971 Supreme Court case that left Minnesota’s ban on same-sex marriage in place. He said Baker v. Nelson set a legal precedent that all lower courts must follow.

“Baker, which necessarily decided that a state law defining marriage as a union between a man ad woman does not violate the Fourteenth Amendment, remains good law,” he said.

Most lower courts, however, have decided that other cases, in particular the high court’s 2013 decision striking down DOMA, have undermined the Baker precedent.

Perez-Gimenez went on to suggest that allowing gay couples to marry could lead to other challenges.

“Ultimately, the very survival of the political order depends upon the procreative potential embodied in traditional marriage,” he wrote.

“A clear majority of courts have struck down statutes that affirm opposite-gender marriage only. In their ingenuity and imagination they have constructed a seemingly comprehensive legal structure for this new form of marriage. And yet what is lacking and unaccounted for remains: are laws barring polygamy, or, say the marriage of fathers and daughters, now of doubtful validity?”

Lambda Legal, which is representing three couples who want Puerto Rico to recognize their marriages and two couples who wish to marry in the territory, said it would appeal the decision to the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston. The First Circuit includes five states, all of which allow gay couples to marry, plus Puerto Rico.

by Carlos Santoscoy
Source – On Top Magazine