Md. Attorney General to Issue Opinion on Same-Sex Marriage

Douglas Gansler has testified in favor of legislation to allow same-sex marriage.
Douglas Gansler has testified in favor of legislation to allow same-sex marriage. (Michael Williamson - The Washington Post)
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By John Wagner
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, May 31, 2009

Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler (D) is planning to issue a formal opinion in coming weeks on whether the state can recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions, his office said.

The action comes in response to a request from Sen. Richard S. Madaleno Jr. (D-Montgomery), who is gay.

The attorney general's office in the past has issued less-formal advisory letters to lawmakers stating that Maryland has no obligation to recognize same-sex marriages from other states, citing a state law that defines marriage as being between a man and a woman. Madaleno is seeking to learn whether Maryland has the option of recognizing same-sex marriages. Doing so could require action by the governor or General Assembly or both.

Gansler has testified in favor of state legislation that would allow same-sex marriage in Maryland. His office had no comment yesterday on his research, which was first reported in the Baltimore Sun.

Rick Abbruzzese, a spokesman for Gov. Martin O'Malley (D), said the governor would review Gansler's opinion when it is issued. O'Malley has voiced support for civil unions but stopped short of endorsing same-sex marriage.

The District has passed legislation, set to take effect in July, that would recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere. New York Gov. David A. Paterson (D) recently signed an executive order to the same effect.

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