Puerto Rico may stop defending in court its laws limiting marriage to heterosexual couples and prohibiting the territory from recognizing the legal out-of-state marriages of gay and lesbian couples.

El Nuevo Dia reported this week that Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla, a Democrat and a defendant in the case, is “contemplating” a “change of posture and withdraw his support of the Puerto Rican statute that only recognizes marriage as a union between a man and a woman.”

Last year, a federal judge upheld Puerto Rico's ban, saying that allowing such unions could lead to plural and incestuous marriages.

“A clear majority of courts have struck down statutes that affirm opposite-gender marriage only,” U.S. District Judge Juan M. Perez-Gimenez wrote in his 21-page ruling. “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 doubtful validity?”

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, appealed 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.

“We are encouraged that the government is reconsidering its defense of its discriminatory ban on the freedom to marry for same-sex couples,” Oscar Gonzalez-Pagan, staff attorney for Lambda Legal, said Monday in a statement. “We have always maintained that the ban is unconstitutional and we are eager for a court to vindicate the rights of our plaintiff couples.”

The governor has until Friday to file a response with the appeals court.