legal briefs

Sure, Maryland Can Recognize Other States’ Gay Marriages If It Wants To


As we learn an attempt to ban gay marriage in West Virginia failed, some more good news from Maryland: Attorney General Doug Gansler released his long-awaited opinion on whether the state will recognize gay marriages from other jurisdictions. In a word, yes.

Any marriage that is “valid in the jurisdiction in which it was contracted” may be recognized by Maryland, he says.

But could doesn’t mean will: “Such marriages may be recognized in several ways. First, legislation enacted by the General Assembly could provide for recognition of out-of-state same-sex marriages generally, or for particular purposes. Second, in the absence of legislation, the Court of Appeals, applying common law choice-of-law principles, could decide that such marriages will be recognized in Maryland, either generally or in particular circumstances. Finally, a state agency may also address the recognition of out-of-state marriages on particular matters within that agency’s jurisdiction, so long as the agency’s action is consistent with any relevant statutes and court decisions, including federal laws that may govern the agency’s activities.”

Not that Gov. Martin O’Malley can just issue an executive order forcing state agencies to recognize out-of-state marriages or anything.

[DC Agenda]