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Maryland's Highest Court Hears Gay Marriage Case

MarylandMaryland's highest court heard arguments today in the appeal of a January ruling on marriage in that state by Baltimore Circuit Judge M. Brooke Murdock. In her decision, Murdock struck down a 1973 state law which defined marriage as between a man and a woman, saying the law was discriminatory and "[could not] withstand constitutional challenge." Added Murdock: "When tradition is the guise under which prejudice or animosity hides, it is not a legitimate state interest."

Opponents of same-sex marriage immediately appealed, and the case was argued today as dozens of gay marriage supporters rallied outside.

Said Dan Furmansky, executive director of Equality Maryland: "The times have changed. We're not invisible anymore. What we can't do is be legally married and legally related to our partners. ... We ask our fellow Marylanders today to walk a mile in our shoes."

But there was an entirely different issue for Doug Stiegler, executive director of the Maryland Family Protection Lobby: "When you talk about discrimination, the children in this case are being discriminated against. They're being denied a father and a mother. A family is a man and a woman and children."

Kenneth Choe, an ACLU attorney arguing on behalf of the plaintiffs, said: "The exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage violates the most fundamental guarantees of equality and liberty for all...It is not enough that there is a reason for including the included class. There must also be a reason for excluding the excluded class. The state could grant right-handed people but not left-handed people the right to marry simply by observing that marriage benefits right-handed people and their children."

The counsel to the General Assembly, Robert Zamoch, felt that Choe's hypothetical statute did not hold up, saying it would be "wholly arbitrary." Added Zamoch: "There is no fundamental constitutional right to same-sex marriage."

A decision from the court could be months away.

Maryland's highest court hears same-sex marriage arguments [international herald tribune]
Maryland Court Hears Same-Sex Marriage Arguments [washington post]

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Comments

  1. I love the right-handed/left-handed argument, and I'm happy to see the ACLU attorney using it here. It is such a strong metaphor for homosexuality... scientists really don't know what causes left-handedness although many believe it is a combination of biological and environmental factors, much like homosexuality. Additionally, the percentage of left-handed people is similar to that of homosexuals.

    Few people would discriminate agaist lefies. It should be a fairly simple, logical next step to not discriminate against gays.

    Posted by: chrisb | Dec 4, 2006 7:40:02 PM


  2. I'm just happy these cases are making national news. I think perhaps we're finally gaining some ground on this front and any publicity brings more attention to the real issue of discrimination.

    Posted by: Rich Brown | Dec 4, 2006 7:50:01 PM


  3. I don't care what left handed people do behind closed doors, but why do we have to have special laws for them?

    Posted by: mark m | Dec 4, 2006 8:18:45 PM


  4. It just amazes me that THOSE people still hide behind kids and skirts and anything else when they say the kids are being discriminated against because there isn't a female and a male in a relationship. There are too many studies that show kids in gay relationships turn out just as well, if not better, than kids in straight relationships. Also, I love the name 'Maryland Family Protection Lobby'. They certainly don't seem intent on protecting all families. They're just a bunch of heathen, non-christian apes. It'll be interesting when their maturity catches up with their mouths.

    Posted by: woodroad34 | Dec 4, 2006 8:38:33 PM


  5. Dan Furmansky and the folks at Equality Maryland are doing a phenomenal job fighting for full and equal treatment under the law for LGBT people. The work you should be supported by us all.

    Posted by: Michael | Dec 4, 2006 9:50:42 PM


  6. I am from Baltimore, MD and I am so proud of our local activist. Actually MD is quite a progressive state as we also just kicked out an republican governor!

    Posted by: shan | Dec 4, 2006 10:12:25 PM


  7. Mr. Steigler is using the children as an excuse to his bigotry. If Mr. Steigler was so concerned about the children being discriminated by being denied of a mother and a father as a result of gay marriage, then shouldn't he be questioning the issue on divorce first? Isn't that the best way to save his definition of a family? In that case, there will be no single parents-- then a child will not be denied of either a male or a female parent. I believe children are not being discriminated by having gay parents, children are being discriminated because they are being denied of parents who are more than willing to give them love just like any parents would.

    Posted by: quickmojo | Dec 4, 2006 11:21:34 PM


  8. Any good Christian would ask at this moment: what would Ted Haggard do? Oh, nevermind...

    Posted by: Anon | Dec 4, 2006 11:58:53 PM


  9. I would think that single parent households would take offense to someone basically negating their parenting abilities and automatically discounting their children simply because the mother/father isn't in the picture.

    Then again, one would also think that in country where over half of kids are either born into single parent families or are left in one, that the dissolution of the nuclear family in general would be the topic, not Dick and Randy and their picket fence.

    Posted by: Derrick | Dec 5, 2006 12:02:34 AM


  10. It will be very interesting to see what happens if full marriage rights are extended to all couples in MD, as in MA. Although the Virginia suburbs of DC (the grey-shaded area on the map) are very progessive, they are bound by the conservative laws of the rest of the state (Northern VA should actually be its own state). There may be many people crossing 200 meters over the Potomac River to go from inequality to equality. Amazing how geography plays such a major role in our lives. Who knew? (how much it sucks).

    Posted by: k | Dec 5, 2006 12:39:01 AM


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