Thursday, February 25, 2010

Maryland Can Recognize Out of State Same-Sex Marriages

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 04:  Wesley Gann and J...Image by Getty Images via Daylife
Add my home state of Maryland to the growing list of states that are moving to fairness and equal treatment under the law for all its citizens. On Wednesday, Maryland Attorney General, Douglas F. Gansler released a long awaited statement saying that under current state law, there is nothing preventing the Free State from recognizing same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.

Maryland law does allow domestic partnerships that offer some, but not all of the rights extended to married couples, but it is still illegal to perform same-sex marriages in the state.

The Baltimore Sun reports:
With the ruling, state agencies will be required to extend all benefits that heterosexual couples enjoy to married gay couples. These could include health insurance expansion, spousal legal immunities, property rights, the ability to file wrongful-death suits and perhaps some tax benefits, experts said yesterday.

"There is no law in Maryland that says we don't recognize out-of-state marriages between same-sex couples," Gansler said. "Based on the law and the state of the law in Maryland and the Constitution of the United States, this is what the law is." 

"What we say in this opinion is a prediction, not a prescription" as to how a court would interpret the law, Gansler wrote. "While the matter is not free from all doubt, in our view, the Court is likely to respect the law of other states and recognize a same-sex marriage contracted validly in another jurisdiction."

So what is a queer Maryland couple to do if they want to get gay married? In some neighborhoods, it will be as simple as crossing the street and entering the District of Columbia, where same-sex marriage will become legal next week.   
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