Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang has so far officiated three same-sex marriages since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last June 26 that all state-level bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional and he expects the number to grow in the next few months.
“It’s only a month already and we’ve had our third same-sex marriage take place near the end of July and within the first two weeks of August,” Apatang said.
“Our office expects more to come and they are more than welcome. If any same-sex couple would like to pick up applications they can and I would be happy to perform the ceremony,” he added.
Apatang is the first mayor to administer the first same-sex union in the CNMI when two women tied the knot on July 22. Both of Chinese descent, one is a U.S citizen and the other is a nonresident.
The second one that Apatang administered was on Aug. 10, when two males of Filipino descent got married. One is a nonresident while the other is a U.S resident.
The third was on Aug. 18, with two women tying the knot.
“It is their right for them to come in and it’s their decision. The number is expected to grow and so far we haven’t had any more applications. We’ve had inquiries though,” Apatang said.
He said couples—both same-sex and heterosexual—can pick up marriage applications at the Saipan Mayor’s Office; the fee is $50.
Bobby Yamada, marriage coordinator for Saipan, said all the applications are available at any of the mayor’s offices of the CNMI. This includes Rota, Tinian, and the Northern Islands.
“Anyone is welcome. The U.S Supreme Court ruled on the issue of same-sex marriage and it is a right guaranteed under the equal protection clause of the law and it compels all states and territories to follow,” Apatang said. “We will continue to follow this and we keep it confidential upon the couple’ request.”