HAGATNA, Guam (AP) — Guam is becoming the first U.S. territory to allow gay marriage after Guam's attorney general directed officials to immediately begin processing same-sex-marriage applications.

Attorney General Elizabeth Barrett-Anderson issued her order to the territory's Department of Public Health and Social Services on Wednesday

Her instructions come two days after a lesbian couple filed a legal challenge to the territory's marriage laws after they were barred from submitting an application for a license to wed.

Barrett-Anderson cited a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision as the basis for her directive. The appeals court in October found state bans on gay marriage were unconstitutional.

Barrett-Anderson says the department should treat "all same gender marriage applicants with dignity and equality under the Constitution."