Federal Judge Rules Obergefell Does Not Apply to Puerto Rico

The flags of the United States and Puerto Rico (photo credit: Arturo de la Barrera via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)

A federal judge has upheld Puerto Rico’s definition of marriage as between one man and one women. While the U.S. Supreme Courts decision in Obergefell v. Hodges extended marriage to same-sex couples, U.S. District Court Judge Juan Pérez-Giménez asserted that the ruling does not apply to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, which is an unincorporated U.S territory.

Judge Pérez-Giménez said of Obergefell ruling: “One might be tempted to assume that the constant reference made to the ‘States’ in Obergefell includes the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. . . . Yet, it is not the role of this court to venture into such an interpretation.”

He based his ruling on Puerto Rico’s status as an “unincorporated territory” that “is not treated as the functional equivalent of a State for purposes of the Fourteenth Amendment,” reasoning that the U.S. Constitution applies only partially to a territory like Puerto Rico. “Under this doctrine,” he wrote, “‘the Constitution applies in full in incorporated Territories surely destined for statehood but only in part in unincorporated Territories.'”

As general background, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, has one non-voting member of Congress. In addition Breitbart explains: “The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico has its own Civil Code, which enshrines traditional man-woman marriage in the recognized definition of the institution. It states that marriage is ‘a civil institution, originating in a civil contract whereby a man and a woman mutually agree to become husband and wife and to discharge toward each other the duties imposed by law.’”

Breitbart is clear to show the legal precedent:

In his decision, Perez-Gimenez cites Murphy v.

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Ben Carson Endorses Statehood for Puerto Rico

Dr. Ben Carson (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Sunday during the “Building a New Puerto Rico” 2nd Statehood Assembly in Fajardo, Puerto Rico, current Republican presidential front runner Dr. Ben Carson endorsed statehood for Puerto Rico.

“Mis hermanos Americanos, my campaign is built around the premise of We the People and through such lens I view the statehood question in Puerto Rico as settled. In 2012, the citizens of Puerto Rico strongly supported changing their status from a Commonwealth to becoming the 51st state. The results of this referendum couldn’t be clearer and now is the time for Congress to support the millions of Puerto Ricans living both in Puerto Rico and on the U.S. Mainland, in their legitimate fight to become a state,” Carson said.

“I stand with our American brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico in unequivocal support of Statehood for Puerto Rico and call on Congress to address this issue immediately,” Carson added. “In a Carson administration, I will leave no stone unturned in my efforts to secure this important step in Puerto Rico’s history—establishing Estado 51.”

Carson joins U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush who have also called for Puerto Rican statehood among a Republican field that has otherwise been quiet on the subject.

With a growing Puerto Rican voting block in central Florida, this issue will be vitally important for a candidate to have an edge going into the Florida primary.

Shane Vander Hart is the online communications manager for American Principles in Action, a frequent contributor to TruthInAmericanEducation.com, and the editor of Iowa-based CaffeinatedThoughts.com. Continue Reading

Jeb Bush Endorses Statehood For Puerto Rico

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (photo credit: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Puerto Rican statehood is not likely an issue on many voters’ minds as the country inches towards the 2016 presidential primary season.  However, while on a trip to Puerto Rico this week, Jeb Bush reportedly made his support for statehood a centerpiece of his message:

“Puerto Rican citizens, U.S. citizens, ought to have the right to determine whether they want to be a state. I think statehood is the best path, personally,” he said at Universidad Metropolitana de Cupey in San Juan. “I have believed that for a long, long while. I’m not new to this.”

[…]

Bush said the next president should “use their influence” to make sure Congress takes an up or down vote on statehood. “This should be a question of self-determination,” he said. “That’s just a question of principle and morality, I think. It’s not a question of politics.”

While this may not be a question of politics for Bush, there may certainly be political benefits for his support of statehood.  A survey taken last summer of Puerto Rican residents in Florida, for instance, found that 64 percent preferred statehood as the best option to resolve Puerto Rico’s current status.  Seeing as Puerto Ricans comprise a not insignificant share of the vote in Florida, an important primary state, this issue ought not to be taken lightly.

And as for conservatives concerned that Puerto Rican statehood would be more of a benefit to Democrats than Republicans, I would hasten to add that this same survey showed that Puerto Rican voters are generally socially conservative and may be a more natural fit for the GOP:

Both by registration and by reported usual voting respondents reported being Democrats by large margins.

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