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Maryland should recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages: state AG

[JURIST] Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler [official website] said Wednesday that the state of Maryland and its agencies should recognize [opinion, PDF] same-sex marriages [JURIST news archive] performed lawfully in other states. Gansler's opinion, issued in response to a legislator's request for clarification of Maryland law, said that the state's highest court would likely rule that legal same-sex marriages from other states are valid in Maryland. Gansler concluded:

While the matter is not free from all doubt, in our view, the Court is likely to respect the law of other states and recognize a same-sex marriage contracted validly in another jurisdiction. In light of Maryland's developing public policy concerning intimate same-sex relationships, the Court would not readily invoke the public policy exception to the usual rule of recognition.

Gansler noted that this is a "prediction, not a prescription, as to the how the Court would approach this issue under current law." The opinion does not affect state law, but state agencies will use it as guidance.

In January, the Hawaii House of Representatives [official website] postponed indefinitely [JURIST report] a vote on legislation [text, PDF] that would have allowed persons in same-sex civil unions [JURIST news archive] the same rights as married heterosexual couples. Same-sex marriage is currently legal in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, and New Hampshire, and is set to become legal in Washington DC [JURIST reports], pending Congressional inaction. New Jersey has recognized same-sex civil unions [JURIST report] since 2006.

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