Maryland's Highest Court Hears Gay Marriage Case
Maryland'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]