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Maryland Court Holds Anti-Gay Marriage Bill is Unconstitutional

A Baltimore City Circuit Court has ruled in the case challenging as unconstitutional sex discrimination a Maryland law recognizes only marriages between a man and a woman.  This test case was brought by the ACLU.  An amicus brief was written for the Public Justice Center by Murnaghan Appellate Advocacy Fellow Beth Mellen Harrison, and filed on behalf of a diverse coalition of civil rights and community organizations.
 
In her ruling on January 20, 2006, Circuit Court Judge Brooke Murdock found that denying same-sex couples the ability to marry violates the state constitution’s Equal Rights Amendment, which protects against discrimination based on sex.  The judge also found that there is not even a rational basis for denying same-sex couples the ability to marry.
 
The court ruled, “When tradition is the guise under which prejudice or animosity hides, it is not a legitimate state interest.”   The opinion further noted, “The Court is not unaware of the dramatic impact of its ruling, but it must not shy away from deciding significant legal issues when fairly presented to it for judicial determination.  As others assessing the constitutionality of preventing same-sex marriage note, justifying the continued application of a classification through its past application is ‘circular reasoning, not analysis,’ and that it is not persuasive.”
 
The case was immediately appealed, and final resolution of this matter will be by the appellate courts of Maryland.
 
Click on the following links to read:
 
Court’s Decision
 
Baltimore Sun article
 
Daily Record article
 
Associated Press article
 

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