Two lawmakers said they respect the decision of two individuals who exchanged vows last week in the CNMI’s first same-sex marriage ceremony.
But Senate President Victor B. Hocog (Ind-Rota) said he is not sure “how the community will react.”
“This same sex-sex [marriage] is a choice of the individual, and we have to respect that choice. My only concern is whether our community can accept it,” Hocog said.
The lawmaker cited the long religious tradition of the CNMI and its adherence to the Catholic faith.
“It is an issue of sentiment or value on our beliefs as Catholics. For me, I respect the individual choice,” Hocog said, but pointed out that it goes against religious teachings.
Sen. Steve Mesngon (R-Rota) echoed Hocog’s comments, saying it is a “democratic system” and that he also respect the individual choices of members of the community.
“We come from a religious community, but I do respect the court ruling,” Mesngon said, adding that he grew up in a Catholic society where family is tied with tradition.
“I respect any individual on that choice, I can’t go against that,” Mesngon said.
Saipan Mayor David Apatang officiated the same-sex marriage rites between two women at his office last week.
Henry Hofschneider, adviser of Apatang, confirmed that the mayor presided over the rites of the two women, who were of Chinese descent.
The identities of the two women were not made public.
In June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage, saying it is a right guaranteed under the equal protection clause of the law, and that the ruling compels all states and territories to follow.
CNMI Attorney General Edward Manibusan has issued a memorandum addressed to all authorized officials who can perform marriage ceremonies on the Commonwealth.