A three-judge panel with the federal First Circuit Court of Appeals today ruled Puerto Rico's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, according to the Washington Blade.
U.S. Circuit Court Judges Juan Torruella, Ojetta Rogerlee Thompson, and William Kayatta, Jr., issued their ruling less than two weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court announced its landmark decision that extended marriage rights to same-sex couples throughout the country.
The decision comes in a lawsuit filed last year by Ada Conde Vidal and Ivonne Alvarez Velez of San Juan, where the lesbian couple asked the U.S. District Court to force the U.S. commonwealth to recognize their Massachusetts marriage.
Four additional same-sex couples and Puerto Rico Para Tod@s, a Puerto Rican LGBT advocacy group, joined the case a few months later.
U.S. District Judge Juan Perez-Gimenez dismissed the case in October, upholding the ban, but the plaintiffs appealed it to the First Circuit, which has jurisdiction over the island, as well as Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island.
Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla's administration announced in March that the commonwealth would no longer defend its ban on same-sex marriage in court.
According to the Blade, same-sex marriages are expected to begin in Puerto Rico on July 15.