Maryland Trial Court Rules in Favor of Same-Sex Marriage

Jan 20, 2006


News Release

Baltimore City, MD – Today, Baltimore City trial judge M. Brooke Murdock struck down Maryland’s law that bans same-sex marriage. In 1972, the Maryland attorney general issued an opinion that a ban on same-sex marriage was implicit in Maryland’s laws. In November 1972, Maryland voters ratified Article 46 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights, referred to as Maryland’s Equal Rights Amendment (“ERA”). The ERA states that the “equality of rights under the law shall not be abridged or denied because of sex.” In 1973, the General Assembly passed a law which states: “Only a marriage between a man and a woman is valid in this State.”

Today, Judge Murdock found that the state’s marriage law violated the ERA. The court ruled that the law discriminates based on sex. The court found no “compelling interest” to ban same-sex marriage, and was “unable to even find that the prohibition of same-sex marriage rationally relates to a legitimate state interest.” “The court concludes that the prohibition of same-sex marriages is not rationally related to the state interest in the rearing of biological children by married, opposite-sex parents.” The court also stated that it was “unable to find that preventing same-sex marriage rationally relates to the [sic] Maryland’s interest in promoting the best interest of children.”

Judge Murdock stated that “the General Assembly may have assumed that opposite-sex marriages less frequently end in divorce, that opposite-sex couples are better parents, or that opposite-sex couples focus more on their children’s education.” But, he said, “these assumptions are not rational speculation; they are broad unsupported generalizations that do not establish a rational relation between same-sex marriage and the state’s interest in promoting procreation, child-rearing, and the best interest of children.”

Mathew D. Staver, President and General Counsel of Liberty Counsel, stated: “It is outrageous for a judge to morph into a legislator. It is even more incredible to conclude that there is no conceivable basis to promote marriage between a man and a woman. To conclude that there is no relationship between male-female marriage and child-rearing, or the best interest of children, shows a lack of respect to the legislature, to common sense and to social science. Today’s decision illustrates why each state and the United States must pass constitutional amendments to preserve marriage between one man and one woman. Marriage should not depend on the stroke of a single judge’s pen.” The case will now be appealed. Liberty Counsel will file an amicus brief at the appellate court.

Read the Opinion

"Same-Sex Marriage: Putting Every Household at Risk"

Same-Sex Marriage
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