Saturday, January 21, 2006

Merry in Maryland

We waited until the Deane & Polyak was available (here as a 72KB PDF). A Maryland Circuit Court judge ruled similarly but more more narrowly than the Massachusetts Goodridge decision.

The short of it is that Judge M. Brooke Murdock ruled that the 1973 Maryland law banning same-sex marriage violated the state constitution's guarantee of equal rights. The case should go shortly before the Court of appeals, Maryland's highest.

We predict this conflict will play out around the nation, with challenges to both laws and amendments that seek to create separate classes of equality. More courts are likely to see such restrictions for what they are, akin to the old anti-miscegenation laws.

The ACLU brought the Maryland case on behalf of 19 homosexuals. It took two years to get to a decision. It will be more years before the legalized discrimination in various states eventually falls to respect for reason, law, equality and liberty.

A key finding by Judge Murdock was:
Defendants argue that promoting and preserving legislatively expressed societal values and the traditional institution of marriage are legitimate state interests served by a statute prohibiting same-sex marriage. Having concluded that preventing same-sex marriage has no rational relationship to any other legitimate state interest, this Court concludes that tradition and social values alone cannot support adequately a discriminatory statutory classification.
This claim is similar to the lame arguments of anti folk who state that marriage is for procreation. Yet many straight couples cannot or choose not to reproduce, without being forbidden to marry. The tradition argument is eventually indefensible. Here's hoping that Maryland's Court of Appeals chooses equal rights.

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