- Associated Press - Thursday, March 17, 2016

HAGATNA, Guam (AP) - A federal court judge has ordered the government of Guam to pay more than $85,000 in legal fees for a same-sex couple who sued Gov. Eddie Calvo after they were denied a marriage application last year.

Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood ordered the government Wednesday to pay the fees within 30 days, The Pacific Daily News reported (https://bit.ly/21vi3v0).

Kathleen Aguero and Loretta Pangelinan had sued to overturn the territory’s ban on gay marriage after they were denied a marriage application by the Department of Public Health and Social Services in April. Their lawsuit had been based on the prevailing opinion from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which approved gay marriage in western U.S. states.

Attorney General Elizabeth Barrett-Anderson had written a memo last April directing the department to immediately start issuing marriage applications to same-sex couples.

“While the (Public Health) Department was acting in accordance with Guam law, the Ninth Circuit’s recent decision has rendered Guam’s marriage statute legally unenforceable until such time that the Supreme Court of the United States alters the holding of the Ninth Circuit of Appeals,” the memo states.

Despite the attorney general’s order, Calvo and Lt. Gov. Ray Tenorio had issued their own statement, saying they intended to defer action on the same-sex marriage issue.

“If it is the will of the people of Guam to make same-sex marriage legal on Guam, then the Guam Legislature, the people of Guam’s representatives, can take action to change the law, or a referendum can be held giving the people of Guam a direct voice in this issue,” their statement read.

Tydingco-Gatewood ruled in favor of Aguero and Pangelinan on June 8, 2015 and Guam lawmakers changed the law to allow same-sex couples to get married in August.

Calvo had refused to sign the bill, citing his religious beliefs. He allowed the legislation to lapse into law without his signature.

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