U.S. judge strikes down Guam's same-sex marriage ban: newspaper | Reuters

A federal judge struck down Guam's ban on exact same-sex marriage on Friday, the newest in a wave of legal victories for gay rights campaigners that has spread across the United States into its remote island territories, the Pacific Daily Information reported.

Bans have been toppling given that the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated a federal 香港結婚費用 law restricting benefits to heterosexual couples two many years in the past. The situation will come to a head when that court decides this month whether to permit gay unions nationwide.

Friday's ruling that Guam's ban was unconstitutional opens the way for identical-intercourse couples to apply for marriage licenses there from up coming week, the newspaper said.

The courtroom erupted into applause after the ruling and supporters hugged Loretta M. Pangelinan and Kathleen M. Aguero, the couple who filed the situation, the newspaper reported.

The situation has polarized the predominantly Roman Catholic island, a U.S. territory about three,900 miles (six,300 km) west of Hawaii.

A bill proposing to legalize civil unions in between identical-intercourse couples failed to pass the legislature in 2009.

But Guam's chief federal judge Frances M. Tydingco-Gatewood settled the issue on Friday, citing an earlier determination striking down bans in Idaho and Nevada by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which has legal jurisdiction in excess of Guam, the newspaper explained.

Gay marriage is now legal in a lot more than half of U.S. states.

The government of yet another U.S. territory, the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico, will no longer defend a law that bans very same-sex couples from marrying, its lawyer common said in March.

(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle Editing by Andrew Heavens)