Gansler: Utah same-sex marriages are valid in Maryland

BALTIMORE - Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler said he believes that recent same-sex marriages legally performed in Utah should be recognized in this state.

This view came in response to a request from the Human Right Campaign after the Supreme Court issued a stay on Utah performing such unions after a court ruling struck down the state's same-sex marriage ban.

Following that decision, same-sex marriage was legal in Utah for 17 days and more than 1,300 marriage licenses were issued until the Supreme Court halted the practice.

Maryland has recognized same-sex marriages performed legally in other states since a 2010 opinion released by Gansler. Voters from Maryland approved same-sex marriages following the 2012 elections.

"Maryland will continue to recognize valid out-of-state same-sex marriages as we continue to strengthen the Constitution's promise of equal protection under the law," said Gansler in a statement. "It is an affront to the idea of basic human rights that the battle for full marriage equality in this country remains in headlines and courtrooms."

The Obama administration today also issued a statement saying that the federal government would recognize same-sex unions performed in Utah despite the fact that the state government of Utah is refusing to do.

The action will enable the government to extend eligibility for federal benefits to these couples. That means gay and lesbian couples can file federal taxes jointly, get Social Security benefits for spouses and request legal immigration status for partners.

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The Associated Press contributed to this story

 

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