Guam has become the first US territory to allow same-sex couples to marry today (5 June).
Federal court judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood has made clear after months of confusion that the government of the island nation in the middle of the Pacific ocean should allow gay couples to wed.
Same-sex couples wishing to get married will allowed to start applying for a marriage license from 9 June. There is a five day waiting period, meaning the first marriages will offically happen on 14 June.
Governor Eddie Calvo, who has long opposed same-sex marriage in the largely Catholic country of only 165,000 people, admitted defeat and said it is time to ‘come together despite out differences of opinion.’
As reported by the AFP, he said: ‘Now that the court has ruled and the law has changed, let us move forward.’
This is a win for Loretta Pangelianan and Kathleen Aguero, two 28-year-olds who filed a lawsuit to get married.
Officials initially refused them a license as Guam’s marriage statute originally stated marriage could only take place between a ‘man and a woman’.
‘Love must win and we did,’ Aguero said.
While 37 US states allow same-sex marriage, Guam is the first US federally controlled territory to allow gay couples to wed. In Puerto Rico, they are waiting for the US Supreme Court to make a decision later this June before they move forward. While there is growing support in the US Virgin Islands, there are currently no plans in American Samoa or the Northern Mariana Islands.