Lambda Legal Appeals Ruling That Upheld Puerto Rico’s Discriminatory Marriage Ban

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October 28, 2014
Lambda Legal plaintiffs Iris Delia Rivera Rivera and Maritza López

Today, Lambda Legal filed a notice of appeal to the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Conde-Vidal v. Garcia-Padilla, after the U. S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico dismissed the lawsuit seeking to end the Commonwealth’s discriminatory ban on marriage for LGBT couples. The appeal comes just seven days after the court issued its dismissal.

Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, Staff Attorney for Lambda Legal, said:

Puerto Rico has many loving, committed couples who need the dignity and respect of marriage as soon as possible, and we won’t stop fighting on their behalf. The district court's ruling is not only out of step with the rest of the country, it leaves Puerto Rico as the only jurisdiction within the First Circuit to ban marriage for same-sex couples. During the past year reasoned rulings by district courts throughout the nation and the Courts of Appeals for the 4th, 7th, 9th and 10th Circuits, as well as the U.S. Supreme Court’s actions to let stand some of those rulings, clearly demonstrate that marriage bans, such as Puerto Rico’s, are unconstitutional. The government should not be in the business of discriminating against its people. It is disappointing that Puerto Rico continues to perpetuate the harms it causes to loving, committed Puerto Rican same-sex couples.

Meet the families fighting for marriage in Puerto Rico!

On March 25th, 2014, Ada Mercedes Conde Vidal and Ivonne Álvarez Vélez filed a lawsuit to compel Puerto Rico to recognize their marriage, which they entered into in Massachusetts.

In June, Lambda Legal joined and amended that lawsuit to include four more plaintiff couples, two seeking recognition of marriages entered into in other jurisdictions and two who seek to marry in Puerto Rico, as well as an organizational plaintiff, Puerto Rico Para Tod@s, which represents lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and transgender people and their families.

The District Court issued its ruling dismissing the case on October 21, 2014.

Read the press release.