Because of Puerto Rico’s ambiguous political status vis-à-vis the United States, a federal judge in Puerto Rico ruled Tuesday that the Supreme Court’s decision to impose gay marriage doesn’t apply on the island, which is a commonwealth with a unique constitutional status.
The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico has its own Civil Code, which enshrines traditional man-woman marriage in the recognized definition of the institution. It states that marriage is “a civil institution, originating in a civil contract whereby a man and a woman mutually agree to become husband and wife and to discharge toward each other the duties imposed by law.”
Federal district judge Juan Perez-Gimenez based his ruling on the contention that the Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment does not apply to Puerto Rico, which allowed him to uphold the commonwealth’s ban on same-sex marriage.
In his ten-page opinion, Perez-Gimenez said that the Supreme Court’s decision last June in Obergefell v. Hodges was based on that amendment alone, and a series of century-old Supreme Court rulings put the island outside of that provision.