The First Circuit Court of Appeals on
Wednesday ruled against 13 Puerto Rico lawmakers who wish to
intervene in a case challenging the territory's ban on gay marriage.
Eight senators and five representatives
filed the motion after Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla, a Democrat
who says he's personally opposed to marriage equality, announced that
his administration would no longer defend the ban in court.
“The motion for leave to intervene
filed by eight named Senators and five named Representatives of the
Puerto Rico Legislature is denied,” the
court wrote. “The movants have failed to cite any authority in
support of their suggestion that, as individual legislators, they
have a 'direct and significantly protectable' interest.”
Last year, a federal judge upheld
Puerto Rico's ban, saying that allowing such unions could lead to
plural and incestuous marriages. Plaintiffs in the case, 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, which includes under its jurisdiction five states
where gay couples can marry, plus Puerto Rico.
The First Circuit added that it was
“ably served by the existing briefs of the parties as well as the
numerous amicus briefs submitted” and that “allowing
intervention at this stage may impede the court's ability to dispose
of the matter promptly” if it chooses to do so after the Supreme
Court rules in a similar case challenging bans in four states.
Earlier this month, Guam
became the first U.S. territory with marriage equality.
(Document provided by Equality