Same-Sex Marriages Would Be Recognized in Md.: AG's Opinion

By Tracee Wilkins
|  Thursday, Feb 25, 2010  |  Updated 2:45 PM EDT
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Same-Sex Marriages Would Be Recognized in Md.: AG's Opinion

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Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler released an opinion yesterday concluding that Maryland's highest court likely would rule that legal same-sex marriages performed in othe rstates are valid in Maryland, but he also said the matter is not free from all doubt.

"We have a statute that says marriage is between a man and a woman and that's been upheld by the Court of Appeals in Maryland, Gansler said. "What this is is less about gay marriage, actually, and much more about federalism and state's rights and respecting the full faith and credit of the other states as we do all the time in terms of driver's licenses and other licenses."

As it stands, Maryland defines marriage as being between a man and woman. Maryland is one of the last six states that does not specifically address the validity of same-sex marriages from other states.

State agencies in Maryland should recognize same sex-marriages performed in other states until the legislature or courts decide otherwise, Gansler said. So while the opinion does not change the law, it can guide state officials. For instance, domestic partners who own homes in Maryland are exempt from the state inheritance tax and can also legally make medical and burial decisions for each other.

Gansler went on to give other examples of Maryland recognizing out of state marriages. He said there is no common law marriage in Maryland but the state gives full faith and credit to the common law marriages from other states.

Proposed legislation stating that same-sex marriages performed in other states would not be recognized in Maryland has not made it through the general assembly. Measures to allow same-sex marriages also have failed.

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