(Washington, D.C., March 8, 2010) — Today, Lambda Legal, American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Equality Maryland, and the American Civil Liberties Union released a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) guide for same-sex couples in Maryland who married out of state.
These leading advocacy groups have jointly released the following statement:
“This FAQ follows a favorable opinion by Maryland Attorney Douglas Gansler that says recognition of out-of-state marriages of same-sex couples is consistent with Maryland law, and a response by Maryland’s Governor assuring residents that they should expect state agencies to comply. This is a big step forward for Maryland and should bring greater security, protections, and peace of mind for many married couples living, working, and visiting in Maryland—though true equality will come only when same-sex couples in Maryland can marry in their home state. In the meantime, couples who married in other jurisdictions should live their lives as all married couples do and expect to receive respect in Maryland in a broad range of areas.
“This is a new and emerging area of law and this FAQ addresses just the tip of the iceberg. This is an exciting time as State and local governments, private parties, and members of our communities assess all the ways that marriage recognition brings protections to same-sex couples in Maryland and how to implement it, but we should be aware that many answers await further developments and analysis.
”Legal conflicts may arise, but rushing into court may not be the answer, as we work to clarify all that marriage recognition brings to Maryland families. Litigation on this issue could have widespread impact for many couples and should be considered with care. If you are denied a service or protection to which married couples are entitled, please contact one of our organizations for assistance.”
The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.
Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.
The American Civil Liberties Union is America’s foremost advocate of individual rights. It fights discrimination and moves public opinion on LGBTQ rights through the courts, legislatures and public education.
Equality Maryland is Maryland’s largest LGBTQ civil rights organization, focused on making life better for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender citizens of Maryland. Equality Maryland works to secure and protect the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Marylanders by promoting legislative initiatives on the state, county and municipal levels and educating the public about the issues faced by our diverse community.
The Maryland ACLU works to ensure that all people in the state of Maryland are free to think and speak as they choose and can lead their lives free from discrimination and unwarranted government intrusion. We are guided in our work by the United States Bill of Rights and the Maryland Declaration of Rights. The Maryland ACLU acts without partisanship to achieve these goals.