Majority of same-sex unions administered by Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang consists of tourists, according to the Mayor’s Office.
Apatang has already presided over nine same-sex union ceremonies since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized it last year.
Apatang said the tourist couples just come here to Saipan to get married since same-sex union is legal in the CNMI, one of three U.S. territories that followed the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision.
American Samoa does not recognize same-sex unions.
“They apply for a marriage license, fill out the forms, submit the proper documents, pay the court fee, and we schedule the date of the ceremony. The tourists come here since they know it is legal here,” said Apatang.
The fee is $50 and will be paid at the CNMI Superior Court and the ceremony is held every Tuesdays to Thursdays according to Saipan Mayor’s Office marriage coordinator Bobbie Yamada. “It’s a very easy process.
Last month, Apatang performed same-sex unions to four couples, mostly females. Two more are scheduled either later this month or in June.
“They are very private, discreet but want to make their relationship official. They are particular with confidentiality,” said Apatang.