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02/25/2010

Another state's gays gain forced destination wedding right

by Jeremy Hooper

For those wondering whether yesterday's Attorney General opinion will bring out-of-state marriage recognition to Maryland:

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.
Maryland to recognize gay marriages from other places [WaPo]
(H/t: Towle)

So welcome, Maryland, to the odd reality that allows recognition, yet exports the joy and commerce that comes from actual weddings. We in New York have come to know it as -- well, we've come to know it as ridiculous. But we've grown to accept it as better than most state's even more ridiculous laws.

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Your thoughts

I'm happy that the press and public are taking the opinion as a strong statement and assuming it will have practical effect in guiding administrative officials' actions. I confess, though, I thought the opinion was actually drafted precisely to avoid such effects. But the public perception of the document may be more important than the words themselves in determining its practical effect.

I'm curious whether the AG's opinion can really be challenged directly in court, like the Post article suggests. That doesn't seem right to me.

Posted by: Jon F | Feb 25, 2010 3:18:53 PM

So, the WaPo article is saying that, while the AG opinion is just an opinion, and doesn't specifically mandate that same-sex marriages will be valid, the only rational path is toward recognition of those out-of-state marriages. Especially since the likely outcome (according to the AG) is that the courts would impose such recognition otherwise. So, that is consistent with the consensus opinion from yesterday - but perhaps stated in a more equality favorable way.

I suspect that the AG is putting the legislature on notice that they have to do something proactive - either pass legislation that specifically recognizes our out of state marriages, or legislation which specifically bans recognition. Because if left to the courts, the former is likely to be imposed.

Posted by: Dick Mills | Feb 25, 2010 3:56:44 PM

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