The Office of Attorney General has chosen a timely issue for this year’s Attorney General’s Cup speech competition this April 30, 2015 at 10am.
Students from eight of the island’s high schools will deliver speeches on same-sex marriage—what Attorney General Edward Manibusan calls a “fast evolving and contentious issue.”
Specifically, the students are asked: “Should the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands follow the lead of the 37 states and the District of Columbia and allow marriages between two people of the same sex? Why or why not.”
On April 28, the US Supreme Court will likewise hear oral arguments on same-sex marriage. They are expected to issue a written opinion in late June.
The AG notes this decision will affect the CNMI islands but added they chose the topic back in January, even before the Supreme Court took it up.
When asked what his position on the issue is, he quipped that he’d “leave that up to the students.”
Chief Justice Alexandro Castro, who founded the competition when he was AG, echoed Manibusan, noting how prevalent this question is.
“Every candidate that is running for U.S. President—that’s one of questions asked by the media,” Castro said. “What do you think about this, how do you feel about this topic?”
“I’m just glad AG Manibusan chose a topic that is boiling, boiling hot around us. It would be interesting for the students to give us their perspective. We are going into the minds of the future leaders of the Commonwealth. We want to see what they think,” he said.
Manibusan said the Cup is about “supporting students and their role in society.” They will learn to analyze, speak, argue, and convince the audience of which side is the right position, he said. “This competition is tremendous.”
Castro thanked the AG competition’s steering committee for their hard work.
Next week’s event will take place in the Supreme Court courtroom. The public is invited to attend and support the students. For the last 31 years, the Cup has covered a range of topics from the death penalty to economic development and immigration.
For more information, contact Carla Torres at the Office of the Attorney General at 237-7500.