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Support for Same-Sex Marriage Increasing in MD

A Washington Post poll released today and conducted between May 3rd and 6th shows increased support for same-sex marriage by Maryland voters. 46 percent of respondents favored same-sex marriage, 44 percent opposed, and 10 percent had no opinion, according to the Washington Post. An identical poll question in 2007 found 44 percent in support and 51 percent opposed. The new poll also found that 55 percent of respondents support recognizing same-sex marriages performed out of state, while 38 percent are opposed. Maryland state Attorney General Douglas Gansler released an opinion in February stating that Maryland should recognize marriages of same-sex couples performed out-of-state. The ruling (see PDF) does not have the weight of law, but is considered a guideline for state officials. Gansler wrote, “The Court of Appeals would start from the general principle that a marriage that is valid in the place of celebration remains valid in Maryland. There is an exception to that rule if the particular marriage is contrary to a strong State public policy…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.” According to the Associated Press, Maryland law does not specifically address the validity of same-sex marriages performed out of state, but does define marriage as being between one man and one woman. In 2007, the Maryland state Supreme Court upheld a state law banning same-sex marriage in a 4-3 decision, claiming that the ban does not discriminate on the basis of gender and does not deny any fundamental rights as guaranteed by the constitution Civil unions are currently legal in Maryland and five other states (Colorado, Wisconsin, Maine, New Jersey, and Washington). Same sex marriage is currently legal in five additional states (Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont) and the District of Columbia. Legislation to legalize same sex marriage was recently defeated in New York and New Jersey. Proceedings are still underway in the trial that will decide whether California’s Proposition 8, the November 2008 ballot initiative that overturned the right of same-sex marriage in the state, is constitutional.

Sources:

Washington Post 5/11/10; Feminist Daily Newswire 9/19/07, 2/25/10, 4/30/10; Associated Press 2/25/10

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