Wednesday, September 19, 2007

MD: state supreme court upholds law banning gay marriage

On Tuesday Sept. 18 the Maryland state supreme court in Annapolis, by a 4-3 vote, upheld a state law passed in 1973 limiting marriage to one man and one woman. The court claimed that the law served a compelling state interesting providing a sheltering environment to raising children. The court also added that there was nothing in the Maryland constitution that would prohibit the general assembly from authorizing gay marriage or civil unions through the normal political process.

One dissenting judge indicated that he felt that gays and lesbians should be a suspect class, and that marriage laws indirectly add to discrimination against gays and lesbians, who are indirectly forced to subsidize the marital sexual relationships of others through deferential taxes or sacrifices. Culturally conservative opponents of gay marriage argue that traditional marriage needs to provide institutional protection and deferential privilege to married people in order to make raising children (and taking care of other family members) a realistic opportunity for most "average" people.

These states allow civil unions or domestic partnerships: California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.

Lisa Rein and Mary Otto have a detailed story on page A1 print of The Washington Post, Wed, Sept. 19, 2007, here. The story title is "Md. Ban on Gay Marriage Is Upheld: Law Does Not Deny Basic Rights, Is Not Biased, Court Rules."

On Aug. 31 there was a posting on this blog about an Iowa district court overruling its ban on same-sex marriage, and that ruling is under appeal.

As an aside, a politician in Germany wants to give all marriages an "expiration date" of wedding day + seven years. They can "renew" the marriage each seven years. "Till death do us part ... in sickness and in health" goes away. Imagine what Maggie Gallagher will write about this proposal.

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