UPDATE: Maryland Not Only Can, But Will Begin Recognizing Same-Sex Marriages Performed Elsewhere

It was a bit unclear yesterday what the state would do following Attorney General Doug Gansler's decision that the state's highest court could recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.

Gansler It appears Gansler has now put that decision into action:

"Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler (D) declared Wednesday that Maryland will recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere and that its agencies should immediately begin affording gay married couples the same rights as heterosexual ones…With Gansler's decision, Maryland in effect joins the District and a handful of states including New York that recognize same-sex marriages performed in four New England states and Iowa…The attorney general's opinion unleashed a torrent of emotions from both gay rights advocates and those opposed to same-sex marriage, adding a potentially explosive issue to election-year politics in Maryland. It is likely to be quickly challenged in court, Gansler acknowledged."

Said Governor Martin O'Malley: "I am confident that the Attorney General and his office will provide all necessary advice to state agencies on how to comply with the law. I expect all state agencies to work with the Attorney General's office to ensure compliance with the law."


  1. Glenn says

    I would just like to clear up some confusion here. There’s a big difference between the state agencies choosing to treat same-sex marriages as valid, and having the courts do so. The former is terrific, but of somewhat limited benefit unless you’re a state employee or are applying for some kind of benefit like workman’s comp. The real prize is having the courts do so — that’s when you get recognized in terms of property rights, inheritance rights, the ability to divorce, etc. And neither the AG nor the Governor can dictate that to the Courts — which is why the MD AG phrased his report as merely a prediction as to what the MD courts would do. So it is a bit premature to say that “Maryland recognizes” these marriages.

    Same thing has happened here in NY. The state agencies, per Paterson’s order, are recognizing marriages, and so far the lower courts are as well, but the highest court — the Court of Appeals — has not decided the issue (and declined to do so when it had the chance last year).

  2. says

    This is great news. Hopefully the state will move to begin issuing marriage licenses, too. Washington DC will begin very soon!

  3. John says

    God bless the state that we lived in for over twenty years! I wish I were still there instead of the backwards state of Pennsylvania!