Constitutional Law

Judge upholds gay-marriage ban, says contrary rulings rely on 'ingenuity and imagination'

  • Print.

A federal judge in Puerto Rico has upheld a ban on gay marriage in an opinion calling heterosexual marriage “the fundamental unit of the political order.”

U.S. District Judge Juan Perez-Gimenez upheld the Puerto Rico gay-marriage ban on Tuesday in a decision (PDF) that bucks the trend, report the Washington Post and SCOTUSblog. Rulings to the contrary, he wrote, rely on “ingenuity and imagination.”

“Traditional marriage is the fundamental unit of the political order,” Perez-Gimenez wrote. “And ultimately the very survival of the political order depends upon the procreative potential embodied in traditional marriage.”

Perez-Gimenez said other courts have misinterpreted the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor, which struck down a provision in the Defense of Marriage Act denying federal benefits to gay married couples.

“If anything, Windsor stands for the opposite proposition: It reaffirms the states’ authority over marriage,” Perez-Gimenez said. “It takes inexplicable contortions of the mind or perhaps even willful ignorance … to interpret Windsor’s endorsement of the state control of marriage as eliminating the state control of marriage.”

The Washington Post says Perez-Gimenez relied on the first part of Justice Anthony M. Kennedy’s opinion in Windsor, which talks about the states having the power to define marriage. Some other courts that have struck down gay-marriage bans have relied on the second half of Kennedy’s opinion, which said the federal law offended basic principles of equality.

Lawyers challenging the ban plan an appeal to the Boston-based 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.