El Nuevo Día reported Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro García Padilla’s administration is “contemplating” a “change of posture and withdraw its support of the Puerto Rican statute that only recognizes marriage as a union between a man and a woman.”
The Governor’s office filed a brief today with the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals which will soon hear a lawsuit against the Puerto Rican marriage ban. In that filing, lawyers for the commonwealth admitted that the issue of marriage equality must be examined via “heightened scrutiny” and as such could not be defended.
From the brief:
“Although the main Defendant, the Governor of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, has defended the legal definition of marriage as the union between a man and a woman,” recent legal developments “have led the Commonwealth to recognize that Puerto Rico’s marriage ban must be examined through heightened scrutiny, whether it be under the Equal Protection Clause or the Due Process Clause.”
They continued: “Under said heightened standard, the Commonwealth cannot responsibly advance before this Court any interest sufficiently important or compelling to justify the differentiated treatment afforded so far to Plaintiffs.”
Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, a staff attorney for Lambda Legal, issued this statement:
“In declining to further defend the Commonwealth’s discriminatory marriage ban, Puerto Rico’s government finally recognizes that denying marriage to LGBT people is harmful and cannot be justified. The marriage ban’s sole purpose is to perpetuate discrimination, and it is just plain wrong.”
“Same-sex couples, LGBT people, and their families are part of Puerto Rico’s rich social and cultural fabric. Today’s actions fulfill the constitutional promises of justice and fairness for LGBT people in Puerto Rico. Simply put, discrimination is never in Puerto Rico’s best interests.”