Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Maryland Court of Appeals upholds gay marriage ban

A 250-page decision just came out of the Maryland Court of Appeals saying that the state's law banning same-sex marriage is not unconstitutional and any change to the law must be taken up by the state's legislature.

The Maryland decision cites the New York Court of Appeals' same-sex marriage ruling (Hernandez v. Robles) in a few instances, most notably:

By limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples, [the State] is not engaging in sex discrimination. The limitation does not put men and women in different classes, and give one class a benefit not given to the other. Women and Men are treated alike-they are permitted to marry people of the opposite sex, but not people of their own sex. [Hernandez v. Robles, 855 N.E.2d 1, 6 (2006)]

The right to marry someone of the same sex, how ever, is not ‘deeply rooted’; it has not even been asserted until relatively recent times. [Hernandez, 855 N.E.2d at 9]

The dissenting opinion in the Maryland case also cites NYS Court of Appeals Chief Justice Judith Kaye in her dissent, saying among other things that marriage is a fundamental right (as proved in Loving v. Virginia). And in response to the argument about rights stemming from "deeply rooted" traditions, Kaye opines:

Fundamental rights once recognized cannot be denied to particular groups on the ground that these group s have historically been denied those rights. Indeed, in recasting the plaintiffs’ invocation of their fundamental right to marry as a request for recognition of a ‘new’ right to same-sex marriage, the Court misapprehends the nature of the liberty interest at stake.

How wise she is...

We now hope that the Maryland state legislature will move with the expedience that the New York state legislature has (thus far, at least) and pass a marriage equality bill so that all Maryland families will be protected equally.

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