- RE: the U.S. Supreme Court June 26 ruling in favor of marriage equality - it is unknown as of yet how this will affect American Samoa. From LAMBDA LEGAL: "This leaves us with the unique situation of American Samoa (the population of which numbers 55,000). It is important to understand that the people of American Samoa are not U.S. citizens, but rather U.S. nationals. Unlike the other U.S. territories, Congress has not enacted an organic act for American Samoa. As such, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has determined that the constitutional rights not expressly extended to American Samoa may not apply. As such, the question remains open. Currently pending before the D.C. Circuit is a lawsuit arguing that the people of American Samoa should be considered U.S. citizens under the Fourteenth Amendment's Citizenship Clause. The outcome of that case may influence the applicability of ... SCOTUS['s] ruling in favor of the freedom to marry."
- 10 July 2015, American Samoa Questions Validity of Same-Sex Marriage in Territory - By Fili Sagapolutele and Jennifer Sinco Kelleher, Associated Press via ABC News
- 7 July 2015, Columbia Law School civil rights attorney responds to marriage question in the Territory - By Fili Sagapolutele, Samoa News
- 3 July 2015, AG reviews Supreme Court’s same sex marriage ruling - By Joyetter Feagaimaalii-Luamanu, Samoa News
- On 26 June 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled FOR marriage equality and that same-gender couples have the constitutional right to marry in all 50 states and all U.S. territories. However, see the explanation above regarding this territory.
- MARRIAGE EQUALITY FAQ
- If a marriage license is refused to you, please contact one of the following legal organizations immediately!
- Lambda Legal
- Culturally, there is historical tolerance of homosexuality in Samoa. There is a tradition of raising some of the boys in a family as girls to play important domestic roles in Samoan life. These people are known as fa'afafine, but their roles do not equate with Western gayness. This tradition creates widespread cultural acceptance of M-T-F transgender people.
- In 2003 the AS Senate killed a bill that would have banned recognition of same-sex marriages.
- In 2012 the Prime Minister spoke out publicly against marriage equality, stating that American Samoa is a "Christian nation."
- Following the 2013 SCOTUS ruling in United States v. Windsor, both the IRS and the Department of Labor (DOL) wrote that for their purposes the term "spouse" refers to any individual who is lawfully married under any state law, including individuals married to a person of the same sex who were legally married in a state that recognizes such marriages, but who are domiciled in a state that does not recognize such marriages. This applies to American Samoa.
Legislation - Enacted
Lawsuits - Resolved
Ballot Initiatives - Passed