UPDATED: Effective Immediately, Maryland Recognizes Gay Marriages Performed in Other States

Jodi Jacobson

Maryland's Attorney General says the state’s marriage law allows Maryland to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states, even though such marriages cannot now be legally performed in Maryland. A far right conservative has called for his impeachment.

This article was updated at 4:39 pm on Wednesday, February 24th, 2010 to reflect new developments.

UPDATE: Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler (D) says effective
immediately the state recognizes same-sex marriages performed elsewhere
and state agencies should begin giving gay couples the rights they were
awarded elsewhere.

Original story below:

The Examiner.com reports that, in an opinion issued earlier today, Maryland State Attorney General Doug Gansler – a Democrat – said there is
nothing in the state’s marriage law that prevents Maryland from
recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states, even
though such marriages cannot now be legally performed in Maryland.

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The Examiner.com‘s J. Doug Gill writes:

Gansler’s 45-page opinion
follows nearly a year of research, and concludes that Maryland’s Court
of Appeals (the state’s highest court) could “likely apply the
principle that a marriage is valid in the place of celebration is valid
in Maryland.”

“The opinion reaches this conclusion in light of the evolving state
policy,” Gansler wrote, “reflected in anti-discrimination laws,
domestic partner laws and other legislation, that respects and supports
committed intimate same-sex relationships.”

Representatives of the far right have already put Gansler on notice that they will fight recognition of same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.

Last week, Maryland Delegate Don Dwyer vowed to seek to impeach Gansler if the AG issued a favorable
opinion on recognizing same-sex marriages performed out of state.

"It looks as if the Anne Arundel County republican will have that opportunity," writes Gill.

In a post to his Facebook followers this morning, Delegate Dwyer,
often described as Maryland’s most conservative elected official, wrote
that he will seek Gansler’s impeachment, “not because he disagrees with
[me] on the topic of same sex marriage, but because he has overstepped
his constitutional bounds and violated his oath of office.”

A bill that would have banned recognizing out-of-state marriage of gay couples – sponsored by Baltimore
County Democratic delegate Emmett Burns – was killed in committee early
in the 2010 General Assembly session.

But ultra-conservatives have not given up.

Senator Norman Stone
(D – Baltimore County) – has introduced a bill that would not only alter the definition of a
“foreign marriage,” but would also “provide that a marriage between two
individuals of the same sex that is validly entered into in another
state or in a foreign country is not valid in the State of Maryland.”  The bill, SB 852, is scheduled for a hearing on March 3rd.

Senator Stone told The Baltimore Sun
that he was concerned that with Washington, D.C., set to begin
permitting same sex marriages in March, Maryland couples will simply
marry there and then continue living here.

Stone was quoted by The Sun saying that if people “strongly believe in same-sex marriages, they should go live in those states" that allow it.

Put away that welcome mat.  You’re not invited.

Topics and Tags:

gay marriage, LGBT rights

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