Lawmakers offer opposing views on same-sex marriage

CNMI lawmakers expressed opposing views on same-sex marriage, but are in agreement in supporting the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision.

For House Floor Leader George Camacho (R-Saipan), the decision is a “victory for the people,” because the SC’s decision “trumps” every decision on such “sensitive” matters.

Camacho said he thinks the decision will not have much of an impact to the CNMI, stating that the decision “opens” the minds of people and that the CNMI is “moving forward” with the times.

He also dismissed notions that the historic decision will give a “black eye to the church” adding that he is supportive of the decision.

For Rep. Angel A. Demapan (R-Saipan), as a U.S. territory, the CNMI “has to honor the decision of the SC.”

“Obviously, this is a very sensitive issue, but the ruling is already there,” Demapan said, adding that, “times have changed.”

Demapan said the decision is also about “fundamental freedom” accorded to citizens, and that he supports it.

One good thing about the decision, Demapan said, is that governments now has a set of guidelines to use.

Rep. Joseph “Lee Pan” Guerrero (R-Saipan) said he supports the landmark decision, but what he questions is the actual need for “marriage” between same-sex individuals.

“I support this decision of the Supreme Court,” he said. “But what does marriage accomplish for these individuals?”

He said he also questions the “purpose” of same-sex marriage, although he made it clear that he respects gay people and has nothing against them.

“Will there be consequences if we allow this on the CNMI?” Guerrero said, adding that the SC decision may have an effect on a predominantly Catholic territory such as the CNMI?

He said he is urging leaders of the diocese in the CNMI to issue a statement regarding the issue.

On Monday, Gov. Eloy S. Inos issued a statement saying that he will consult with the Attorney General and CNMI mayors “to see how we can initiate the necessary changes to current regulations to comply with the ruling and ensure an equal application of our constitutional rights throughout the CNMI.”

Inos said, “same-sex common law unions have been in existence in our culture even before this ruling. In our small community, we either have family, friends, or know of people who are gay or lesbian couples.”

Joel D. Pinaroc | Reporter
Joel Pinaroc worked for a number of newspapers in the Philippines before joining the editorial team of Saipan Tribune. His published articles include stories on information technology, travel and lifestyle, and motoring, among others. Contact him at joel_pinaroc@saipantribune.com.

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