Maryland’s Marriage Equality law, permitting same-sex couples to become married in the State of Maryland, was approved by voters (52% for; 48% against) on November 6, 2012. Under the law passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor in 2012, the law took effect on January 1, 2013.
Maryland previously recognized same-sex marriages legally formed in another state but did not allow gay couples to marry in the state. The Maryland Marriage Equality law changes the earlier language defining a marriage to state, “Only a marriage between a man and a woman is valid in this State,” to language that is not gender-specific: “Only a marriage between two individuals who are not otherwise prohibited from marrying is valid in this State.”
Under the new law, religious entities are not required to perform or promote marriages if doing so would violate the entity’s religious beliefs. This means that while gay and lesbian couples may marry in the state, they cannot compel a church to rent facilities to them for celebration of their nuptials and they may not compel a priest, rabbi, mullah, or other religious leader to perform the ceremony.
Same-sex couples who wed enjoy precisely the same rights as any other married couples.
Lippman, Semsker & Salb has actively served gay and lesbian clients for decades, addressing the community’s unique needs in estate planning, domestic relations, and employment issues. Combined with our skill and experience in the field of domestic relations law, we are uniquely equipped to serve gay and lesbian couples in the creation of relationships, separation and divorces, child custody, property division, child and spousal support, and more.
If you have any questions about your rights as a married couple in Maryland, please let us know.