Saturday, March 27, 2010

Minority leader of Maryland state House seeks a moratorium on recognizing out-of-state, same-sex marriages

In February, Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler issued an advisory opinion that the state may recognize out-of-state, same-sex marriages. Governor Martin O'Malley directed state agencies to comply with the decision. State Delegate Emmett Burns tried to preempt the expected opinion with legislation (HB 90), but the House Judiciary Committee reported unfavorably on the bill. (The Maryland Reporter) Following release of the opinion, state legislators introduced legislation (HB 1532 / SB 1120) for a moratorium on out-of-state recognition until the state Court of Appeals decides its legality or the legislature approves a law. House Minority Leader Anthony J. O'Donnell sponsors HB 1532, and on March 25th the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the bill. "The worst thing we can do as a legislature is give out false hope," O'Donnell said at the hearing. "It would be patently unfair, in my opinion, if people are given rights and then the legislature yanks the rug out from underneath them in a very, very cruel way." (Washington Examiner) Of course, his legislation would deliver the cruelty he protests, only sooner. Laure Ruth, legal director of the Women's Law Center of Maryland, testified that "O'Donnell's bill is a convoluted version of the ban on same-sex marriage - which failed earlier in the session."

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