27 Jul 2015
- By Junhan B. Todiño - firstname.lastname@example.org - Variety News Staff
SAIPAN Mayor David M. Apatang officiated at the marriage of a Chinese lesbian couple on July 22, Wednesday, in his office, a month after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage in the nation.
Although a devoted Catholic, Apatang said he believes that his religion also requires him to abide by the law of the land.
“I cannot deny them because that’s my legal obligation to perform,” he said, referring to the marriage of the two women.
On June 30, Apatang said Attorney General Edward Manibusan issued a memorandum revising the marriage application and record of marriage rules.
The memo noted that on June 26, 2015 the U.S. Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges held that persons of the same sex have a constitutional right to marry.
“As a result of this ruling, all the states and territories, including the CNMI, are bound by the court’s decision,” Manibusan’s memo stated.
Currently, the attorney general said the commonwealth’s marriage statutes require a man and a woman for a valid marriage. “That requirement is now illegal and unenforceable,” he added.
Manibusan said the purpose of his memo is to “furnish [the mayor] with marriage forms for use until the legislature amends our local statutes.”