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Puerto Rico Celebrates the First Same-Sex Weddings—And It's About Time

The US Supreme Court's ruling not only declared marriage equality in the United States, but also declared it for Puerto Rico, too. Image by José Madera, used with permission.

The US Supreme Court's ruling not only declared marriage equality in the United States, but also declared it for Puerto Rico, too. Image by José Madera, used with permission.

After the US Supreme Court's June 26 ruling that declared marriage equality constitutional in all of the United States and its territories, the government of Puerto Rico announced that it would start the processes required to comply with the court's decision.

The results could be seen on Sunday, August 16, when over 60 same-sex couples formalized their commitment to each other in a mass wedding in Old San Juan under the more-than-welcome rain. The event was organized by activists Ivonne Álvarez and Ada Conde, who also married each other in Sunday's mass wedding.

The rain by no means dampened the spirits of the people gathered there. After many months of drought, it was instead seen by some as a blessing on the ceremony:

What better gift can God give gays on their wedding day, than the chance to dance in the rain during a drought.

The event was celebrated without incident, in spite of a group of people protesting nearby who were mainly from religious organizations that oppose same-sex marriage. It must be said, however, that there were also representatives from other faiths and Christian denominations (not to mention the Pastafarians, who “believe” in the famous Flying Spaghetti Monster) that not only supported the marriages with their presence, but also blessed the unions by officiating some of the weddings.

For many, it was the first time they could express their feelings about each other so openly. Image by José Madera, used with permission.

For many, it was the first time they could express their feelings about each other so openly. Image by José Madera, used with permission.

For the couples that married that day, the experience was a deeply emotional one. Some couples had lived together for many years already and a few had even raised children together, an impressive accomplishment, considering how socially conservative Puerto Rico can be.

There still lingered much of the feeling that many same-sex marriage advocates had when the Supreme Court's ruling was first announced—a lot of joy and a bit of disbelief at the same time, as expressed in the following tweet:

It's incredible to live to tell it: All of the United States and Puerto Rico recognize same-sex marriage.

On that occasion, Amárilis Pagán (@AmarilisPagan), an outspoken advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people's rights and executive director of Proyecto Matria, urged people to keep on fighting for full equality:

Done! Now let's carry on with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transexual and transgender (LGBTT) agenda: adoption, lives without violence, access to medical services and more.

Human rights advocate Pedro Julio Serrano celebrated the fact that same-sex couples could now get married in Puerto Rico, but also reminded people about other members of the LGBTQ community who have yet to gain the legal recognition of their rights:

…queda lograr, entre muchas otras luchas, que las personas transgéneros y transexuales puedan ir a este mismo Registro Demográfico, que hoy hace historia, para que puedan atemperar sus certificados de nacimiento con el género que les pertenece. Es lo justo, es lo correcto y es tan inevitable como el día que hoy vivimos.

…we still need to achieve, among other struggles, that transgender and transsexual people can go to the same Demographic Registry, which is today making history, so that they too can match their birth certificates to their gender. It is fair, it is right and is as inevitable as the day we live today.

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