UPDATED Monday: The judge’s opinion explaining the decision is now available, here.
A federal judge in the U.S. territory of Guam ruled on Friday that its law against same-sex marriage can no longer be enforced, news reports have indicated. U.S. District Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood made her decision from the bench after a hearing on a challenge by a lesbian couple — a challenge that had begun only in April.
The judge announced that she would have an opinion explaining her decision on Monday, and that it would go into effect Tuesday.
The outcome of the case has been anticipated from the time that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled in favor of same-sex marriage in other cases last October. Guam is located in that judicial circuit, and thus the October decision awaited only a local ruling to make it explicitly binding in the territory.
After the couple filed their lawsuit against the ban on April 13, the territory’s attorney general had said that the law was “legally unenforceable,” at least until the issue is settled on a nationwide basis by the Supreme Court. The Justices are expected to rule on the constitutional issue soon, probably by the end of this month.
A total of thirty-six states and Washington, D.C., now permit same-sex marriage, under court rulings, legislation, or voter-approved ballot measures.