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Same-Sex Couple from Puerto Rico Sues to Have US Marriage Recognized

by Norris Law Group on April 2, 2014

pr_rnbwOn March 26, 2014, the Salt Lake Tribune printed an Associated Press article concerning an attorney from Puerto Rico who married her longtime partner on the U.S. mainland has filed a suit in federal court seeking to have their marriage recognized in her home territory.

Attorney Ada Conde filed the suit in Puerto Rico on March 25, challenging the constitutionality of Puerto Rico’s laws that define marriage as only between one man and one woman. The same laws prohibit same-sex marriages as well as the recognition of these marriages.

Conde said she has been in a relationship with her partner Ivonne Alvarez, an accountant and financial adviser, for close to 14 years. Conde and Alvarez married in August 2004 in Massachusetts, a state that recognizes same-sex marriages.

Conde is suing Puerto Rico’s heath secretary, whose office oversees Puerto Rico’s demographic registry and the registrar of vital records. In her suit, Conde says that the lack of recognition of her marriage to Alvarez made matters extremely complicated when Conde’s minor daughter had to undergo a second open-heart surgery. Alvarez was precluded from taking part in making any decisions about the girl’s treatment.

In her suit, Conde says, “We wish to enjoy the same social privileges and contractual rights … and not to be treated as we are being treated as second-class citizens…Gay and lesbian individuals have suffered a long and painful history of societal and government-sponsored discrimination,” she said in the lawsuit.

Conde’s suit comes as the fight for gay rights intensifies in Puerto Rico. Legislators and religious groups have clashed on several issues related to same-sex marriage of late. This also marks the first time that has a suit of this nature has been filed within Puerto Rico.

In 2013, lawmakers approved four measures which supported gay rights. Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla signed legislation prohibiting employment discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation, and established a domestic violence law which includes same-sex couples.

Attorney Graham Norris and his associates at the Norris Law Group serve the residents of Utah County and throughout Utah in the area of divorce and family law. Contact them today at 801-932-1238 or online for a free consultation.

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