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Same-sex benefits in Maryland

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

MARYLAND

State workers can get same-sex benefits

State employees in Maryland can now sign up same-sex spouses as dependents, making them eligible to receive the same health-care and other benefits afforded to husbands and wives of heterosexual state employees, Gov. Martin O'Malley's office announced Wednesday.

The change means that O'Malley's administration has followed through in codifying a legal opinion issued in February by Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler.

In that opinion, Gansler overturned a previous attorney general's opinion, writing that there was nothing barring the state from recognizing valid same-sex unions performed elsewhere. In his role as Maryland's top legal adviser to state agencies, Gansler at the time went a step further, saying that state agencies should begin granting married same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual ones.

O'Malley (D) has consistently voiced support for civil unions but stopped short of supporting same-sex marriage. O'Malley's chief opponent in his reelection bid, former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R), has blasted the attorney general's decision, saying it flies in the face of state precedent not to recognize same-sex marriage.

Under new rules governing Maryland's state employee benefits program, members of same-sex unions with a valid marriage certificate from another state or the District have until June 2 to enroll a spouse for coverage that would begin July 1.

-- Aaron C. Davis

Woman gets 10 years in crash that killed 2

A 34-year-old woman was sentenced to 10 years in prison Wednesday in connection with a drunken-driving wreck that killed two men on the Capital Beltway in Montgomery County on July 7.

Kelli Loos had pleaded guilty two counts of vehicular manslaughter and one count of failure to remain at the scene of an accident resulting in death, according to Montgomery Circuit Court records.

She struck the back of a pickup truck on the Beltway, which sent the pickup over a guardrail and 60 feet down a ravine. Killed in the crash were Gradys Adelson Mendoza and Franklin Manzanares.


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