Friday, March 28, 2014

Puerto Rico: Lesbian couple files lawsuit for marriage recognition

A lesbian couple married in Massachusetts has filed suit in their native Puerto Rico asking the US territory to recognize their marriage.

Together for 14 years and married since 2004, Ada Conde Vidal and Ivonne Álvarez Velez are unable to have their relationship recognized in their home territory because the 1999 amendment to Puerto Rico's civil code restricts marriage recognition to only those unions involving opposite-sex couples.

In the suit, filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for Puerto Rico in San Juan, contends that the commonwealth's policy violates the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and heavily cites last summer's landmark Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality, U.S. v. Windsor.

In detailing the harm they've suffered through the territory's lack of equal marriage rights, Conde recounts how, when her daughter had open-heart surgery, she was unable to designate her wife, Alvarez, to make even "simple decisions or determinations regarding her health. This also included simple decisions and/or determinations regarding her education."

Ultimately, the suit contends that by denying the married same-sex couple the same rights afforded to other legally married couples, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico causes the plaintiffs "severe humiliation, emotional distress, pain, suffering, psychological harm and stigma."

(via the Advocate)

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