On Thursday, Feb 23, 2012 the state of Maryland voted to approve gay marriage setting the stage for the state to become the eighth in the nation to allow marriage equality and allow same-sex couples to wed. Governor Martin O’Malley thanked the Senate and Legislators for their hard work and leadership for their vote in human dignity. Gov. O’Malley, a Democrat and a strong supporter of the legislation, is expected to sign it soon.
On Mar 1, 2012 Governor O’Malley signed the bill into law Thursday, and it takes effect in January 2013.
Opponents of same-sex marriage have until June 30 to collect the 55,736 signatures needed to put a referendum on the ballot in November. Upholding the law on a popular vote, experts say, will require its supporters to navigate the twisted pathways of race and religion that have stymied similar efforts in the past, most notably in California.
As opponents of same-sex marriage work to overturn the not-yet-in-effect marriage equality law in Maryland, the state’s highest court is recognizing gay divorces, for those couples married in other states, the AP reports:
On Friday, May 18, 2012, The Maryland Court of Appeals issued a ruling that couples who have a valid same-marriage from another state can divorce in Maryland. The ruling says Maryland courts should withhold recognition of a valid foreign marriage only if that marriage is “repugnant” to state public policy.
Same-sex marriage in Maryland will become legal beginning Jan 1, 2013. The Civil Marriage Protection Act was Passed in 2012 by the state legislature, providing same-sex couples can obtain a civil marriage license and that religious institutions are protected from performing any marriage in violation of their doctrine. On Tuesday, Nov 6, 2012, voters upheld the law by approving ballot Question 6, becoming one of the first states to legalize same-sex marriage via popular vote.
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MARYLAND STATE LAWS
2010 Maryland Code
TITLE 2 – MARRIAGE
Subtitle 4 – Licensing and Performance
Section 2-406 – Performance of ceremony.
§ 2-406. Performance of ceremony.
(a) Authorized officials.-
(1) In this subsection, “judge” means:
(i) a judge of the District Court, a circuit court, the Court of Special Appeals, or the Court of Appeals;
(ii) a judge approved under Article IV, § 3A of the Maryland Constitution and § 1-302 of the Courts Article for recall and assignment to the District Court, a circuit court, the Court of Special Appeals, or the Court of Appeals;
(iii) a judge of a United States District Court, a United States Court of Appeals, or the United States Tax Court; or
(iv) a judge of a state court if the judge is active or retired but eligible for recall.
(2) A marriage ceremony may be performed in this State by:
(i) any official of a religious order or body authorized by the rules and customs of that order or body to perform a marriage ceremony;
(ii) any clerk;
(iii) any deputy clerk designated by the county administrative judge of the circuit court for the county; or
(iv) a judge.
(b) Period during which ceremony may be performed.- Within 6 months after a license becomes effective, any authorized official may perform the marriage ceremony of the individuals named in the license.
(c) Performance by unauthorized individual prohibited; penalty.-
(1) An individual may not perform a marriage ceremony unless the individual is authorized to perform a marriage ceremony under subsection (a) of this section.
(2) An individual who violates this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to a fine of $500.
(d) Performance between individuals within prohibited degrees prohibited; penalty.-
(1) An individual may not knowingly perform a marriage ceremony between individuals who are prohibited from marrying under § 2-202 of this title.
(2) An individual who violates the provisions of this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to a fine of $500.
(e) Performance without license prohibited; penalty.-
(1) An individual may not perform a marriage ceremony without a license that is effective under this subtitle.
(2) An individual who violates the provisions of this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to a fine not exceeding $500.
(f) Ceremony performed by a clerk or deputy clerk.- The county administrative judge of the circuit court for the county shall designate:
(1) when and where the clerk or deputy clerk may perform a marriage ceremony; and
(2) the form of the marriage ceremony to be recited by the clerk or deputy clerk and the parties being married.
(g) Forms of religious ceremonies.- This section does not affect the right of any religious denomination to perform a marriage ceremony in accordance with the rules and customs of the denomination.
[An. Code 1957, art. 27, §§ 392, 394; art. 62, §§ 3A, 4, 15; 1984, ch. 296, § 2; 1999, ch. 336, § 2; 2002, ch. 207; 2004, ch. 199; 2009, ch. 324.]
Section 2-407 – False statements.
§ 2-407. False statements.
(a) Prohibited.- An individual may not knowingly make any material false statement to obtain or to help another individual to obtain a license or marriage ceremony in violation of this title or of any order of court under § 2-405 of this subtitle.
(b) Violation constitutes perjury.- An individual who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of perjury.
[An. Code 1957, art. 62, § 11; 1984, ch. 296, § 2.]
Section 2-408 – Solicitation of individuals contemplating marriage; advertising in solicitation of marriages.
§ 2-408. Solicitation of individuals contemplating marriage; advertising in solicitation of marriages.
(a) Prohibited acts.- An authorized official may not give or offer to give any reward to any person as an inducement to direct to the authorized official any individual who is contemplating marriage.
(b) Penalties.- An authorized official who violates the provisions of subsection (a) of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to a fine not exceeding $50 for each offense.
[An. Code 1957, art. 27, §§ 396, 397; 1984, ch. 296, § 2; 2003, ch. 70.]
Section 2-409 – Signing and disposition of marriage certificates.
§ 2-409. Signing and disposition of marriage certificates.
(a) Signing of certificate.- Each marriage certificate shall contain:
(1) the name, signature, and title of the authorized official who performs the marriage ceremony; or
(2) if the individuals are married in a Society of Friends marriage ceremony, the signatures of the individuals and the attestation of the certificate by 2 overseers of the marriage ceremony.
(b) Disposition of certificates.-
(1) The authorized official who performs the marriage ceremony shall:
(i) hand 1 marriage certificate to the individuals; and
(ii) return, within 5 days from the date of the marriage ceremony, the other marriage certificate to the clerk who issued the license to which the certificates were attached, but if the authorized official who performs the marriage ceremony dies or resigns, some other individual shall return the certificate.
(2) If the individuals are married in a Society of Friends marriage ceremony, they:
(i) may keep 1 marriage certificate; and
(ii) within 5 days from the date of the marriage ceremony, shall return the other marriage certificate to the clerk who issued the license to which the certificates were attached.
(c) Duty of clerk when certificate not returned.- If the marriage certificate is not returned within 6 months after the date on which the license becomes effective, the clerk who issued the license shall attempt to determine whether the marriage ceremony was performed and, if so, the name of the authorized official who performed the marriage ceremony.
(d) Disposition of certificates required; penalty.-
(1) An individual who performs a marriage ceremony or who is married in a Society of Friends marriage ceremony may not violate the provisions of subsection (b)(1)(ii) or (2)(ii) of this section.
(2) An individual who violates any provision of this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to a fine in an amount that the court considers appropriate.
[An. Code 1957, art. 62, §§ 4, 5, 15; 1984, ch. 296, § 2; 1999, ch. 336, § 2.]