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October 29, 2014 Practice Points

District of Puerto Rico Joins Eastern District of Louisiana in Upholding Gay-Marriage Bans

By Emily Ambrose

On October 21, 2014, the District of Puerto Rico, Judge Juan M. Perez-Gimenez presiding, upheld the gay-marriage ban in Puerto Rico, relying on the 1971 Minnesota Supreme Court case of Baker v. Nelson, 191 N.W.2d 185 (Minn. 1971). See Conde-Vidal v. Garcia-Padilla, No. CIV. 14-1253 PG, 2014 WL 5361987 (D.P.R. Oct. 21, 2014). Judge Perez-Gimenez joins Judge Martin L.C. Feldman of the Eastern District of Louisiana in upholding gay-marriage bans following the United States Supreme Court decision of United States v. Windsor in 2013. See Robicheaux v. Caldwell, 2 F. Supp. 3d 910, at 926 (E.D. La. 2014). Judge Feldman's decision is being appealed to the Fifth Circuit. If Judge Perez-Gimenez decision is appealed, it will go to the First Circuit.

These two decisions are against the tide. On October 6, 2014, the Supreme Court denied review of petitions arising from challenges to state bans on same-sex marriage, paving the way for gay marriage in Indiana, Wisconsin, Utah, Oklahoma, and Virginia. In the weeks that followed, federal court decisions in North Carolina, Alaska, Arizona, and Wyoming held that gay-marriage bans were unconstitutional. As of today, same-sex marriage is now legal in 32 states and the District of Columbia.

Keywords: litigation, LGBT, District of Puerto Rico, same-sex marriage, marriage bans

Emily Ambrose is with Blackwell Burke P.A. in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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