Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla on Wednesday declared that gay and lesbian couples can marry in the territory despite a federal judge's ruling saying otherwise.

U.S. District Court Judge Juan Perez-Gimenez ruled on Monday that the Supreme Court's June finding in Obergefell v. Hodges that gay couples have a constitutional right to marry does not apply to Puerto Rico because it is an unincorporated territory.

(Related: Federal judge says gay marriage ruling does not apply to Puerto Rico.)

The governor said in a statement that he would abide by rulings issued by the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and ignore Judge Perez-Gimenez's decision.

“I'm going to respect the rulings of the higher courts which, thankfully, ordered matters to proceed much differently than Judge Perez-Gimenez,” he said.

Puerto Rico's Justice Department said in a statement that the marriages of gay couples were valid and called marriage equality a “fundamental right.”