Thursday, February 25, 2010
We won't let you get married here (yet), but if you go there to get married and then come back here, we'll honor your marriage ...
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — State agencies in Maryland should recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states until the legislature or courts decide otherwise, Maryland’s attorney general said Wednesday in a long-awaited legal opinion.
The opinion by Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler concluded that the state’s highest court was likely to rule that legal same-sex marriages in other states are valid in Maryland. But, he said, the matter “is not free from all doubt.”
Maryland law defines marriage as being between a man and woman, and the state is one of six that do not specifically address the validity of same-sex marriages from other states.
While the opinion does not change the law, it can guide state officials. The attorney general’s office would defend a state agency in court for recognizing a same-sex marriage from another state.
Proposed legislation explicitly 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 have also failed, but Maryland lawmakers have extended protections to same-sex couples.
For example, domestic partners who own homes together are exempt from the state inheritance tax. Members of same-sex couples are permitted to make medical and burial decisions for each other and are eligible for tax benefits that married people get when transferring property.