Puerto Rico

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US: Yes, Puerto Rico’s same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional

A federal appeals court stated unambiguously that Puerto Rico’s ban on same-sex couples’ marriages is unconstitutional, throwing a federal judge off a case after the judge had ruled in March that the ban was still in effect: “The district court’s ruling errs in so many respects that it is hard to know where to begin,” the unsigned opinion from the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals stated in harshly criticizing U.S. District Court Judge Juan Pérez-Giménez’ actions in the case.

Pérez-Giménez had ruled in favor of the ban in October 2014, but the 1st Circuit sent the case back to the trial court after the Supreme Court’s June 2015 ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges striking down marriage bans nationwide. The appeals court ordered Pérez-Giménez to “further consider” the matter “in light of Obergefell,” adding that the appeals court judges “agree with the parties … that the ban is unconstitutional.”

Nonetheless, in March, Pérez-Giménez upheld the ban for a second time, ruling that the Supreme Court’s ruling does not apply to a territory like Puerto Rico. The appeals court disagreed strongly, stating, “In ruling that the ban is not unconstitutional because the applicable constitutional right does not apply in Puerto Rico, the district court both misconstrued that right and directly contradicted our mandate.”  Read more via Buzzfeed 

Puerto Rico: Swimmer on how life has changed since he sent out this tweet: ‘Yes… I AM GAY… Who cares?’

My name is Javier Ruisanchez and I'm 18. I was born and raised in Puerto Rico, but I currently live in Northern Virginia. I just graduated from West Springfield High School. I have two sisters and I live with my mom. I've always been involved in sports. Baseball, volleyball, dancing, basketball – I've always been an athlete, but I didn’t discover my passion for swimming until I was 9. I made my first Junior National Team for Puerto Rice at age 11, so I fit into the world of swimming.

But I always felt the need to fit in with everyone else. I knew at an early age I was gay, but I was too scared to come out because I was afraid of bullying or how those around me would treat me.  Read More