16 Apr 2015

Guam governor wants same-sex marriage referendum

11:34 am on 16 April 2015

The governor of Guam has backed legislation allowing the Pacific island nation to become the first US territory to allow same-sex marriage.

The decision comes two days after a couple filed a lawsuit when they were denied a marriage licence application.

Governor Eddie Calvo has called for a referendum to finally decide the issue, which has sharply divided the public.

In 2009 the Guam legislature failed to pass a bill legalising civil unions between gay couples.

"Marriage is a fundamental right which cannot be denied based on gender," Attorney General Elizabeth Barrett-Anderson said in a letter directing a government agency to process licences.

Legislation is pending for another US territory, Puerto Rico, which would overturn the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman.