A federal judge on Tuesday upheld
Puerto Rico's ban on gay marriage, saying that allowing such unions
could lead to plural and incestuous marriages.
U.S. District Judge Juan M.
Perez-Gimenez is the second federal judge since the Supreme Court
struck down a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)
last year to uphold such a ban. Last month, a
federal judge upheld Louisiana's ban.
In his 21-page ruling, Perez-Gimenez
cited a 1971 Supreme Court case that left Minnesota's ban on same-sex
marriage in place. He said Baker v. Nelson set a legal
precedent that all lower courts must follow.
“Baker, which necessarily
decided that a state law defining marriage as a union between a man
ad woman does not violate the Fourteenth Amendment, remains good
law,” he said.
Most lower courts, however, have
decided that other cases, in particular the high court's 2013
decision striking down DOMA, have undermined the Baker
Perez-Gimenez went on to suggest that
allowing gay couples to marry could lead to other challenges.
“Ultimately, the very survival of the
political order depends upon the procreative potential embodied in
traditional marriage,” he
“A clear majority of courts have
struck down statutes that affirm opposite-gender marriage only. In
their ingenuity and imagination they have constructed a seemingly
comprehensive legal structure for this new form of marriage. And yet
what is lacking and unaccounted for remains: are laws barring
polygamy, or, say the marriage of fathers and daughters, now of
Lambda Legal, which is representing
three couples who want Puerto Rico to recognize their marriages and
two couples who wish to marry in the territory, said it would appeal
the decision to the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston. The
First Circuit includes five states, all of which allow gay couples to
marry, plus Puerto Rico.