Two lesbian couples were among the first gay couples seeking to get married in Guam, which has become the first U.S. territory to legalize same-sex marriages.
Couples on Tuesday morning local time lined up at the Office of Vital Statistics, where marriage licenses are issued. Among them were Loretta M. Pangelinan, 28, and Kathleen M. Aguero, 29, whose lawsuit led to the court's decision.
They were allowed to be first in line to get apply for their marriage and a waiver of the five-day wait period. They planned to immediately get married by a territory official.
Also planning to marry immediately are Deasia Johnson of Killeen, Texas, and her fiancee', Nikki Dismuke, 37, of New Orleans. They have been together three years and are in the military.
The applications for marriage licenses by gay couples came after U.S. District Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood on Friday struck down Guam's prohibition on same-sex marriage. The developments in Guam also come as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to issue a decision on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage this month.
Pangelinan and Aguero sued April 13 after a registrar denied them a marriage license because Guam law defines marriage as between two people of the opposite sex. The couple based their lawsuit on a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision in favor of same-sex marriage. The U.S. District Court of Guam falls under the 9th Circuit.
That same month, Guam Attorney General Elizabeth Barrett-Anderson directed officials to begin processing same-sex marriage applications, but territorial officials, backed by Gov. Eddie Calvo, territory, refused. The governor sued, and he was represented by an outside firm because the attorney general didn't agree with the governor's lawsuit.
Although the ban was struck down Friday, Tydingco-Gatewood gave the territory a couple of days to prepare the marriage applications.
Currently, gay couples can marry in 36 states, the District of Columbia and Guam.
About 160,000 people live on Guam, an island about 3,800 miles west of Hawaii. Its residents are U.S. citizens, but they don't have the right to cast ballots for the country's president.
The territory elects a delegate to the U.S. House, but the delegate is not allowed to vote on legislation. Guam has no representation in the U.S. Senate.