An opinion by Maryland Attorney General
Douglas F. Gansler that prods state agencies to recognize gay
marriages performed elsewhere has come under attack by several
Gansler, a Democrat, concluded that
Maryland's highest court is likely to decide in favor of recognizing
The Court of Appeals “will likely
apply the principle that a marriage is valid in the place of
celebration is valid in Maryland,” Gansler said in a 45-page
opinion released Wednesday.
“The opinion reaches this conclusion
in light of the evolving state policy, reflected in
anti-discrimination laws, domestic partner laws and other
legislation, that respects and supports committed intimate same-sex
relationships,” he added.
Proponents of marriage equality hailed
the decision, which state agencies are expected to follow.
“As this important attorney general's
opinion makes clear, Maryland will continue to follow the tradition
and common-sense practice of honoring out-of-state marriages, without
a 'gay exception',” Evan Wolfson, executive director of Freedom
to Marry, a group that supports marriage equality laws, said.
A day after its release, however,
several lawmakers said they would fight the ruling, and one
Democratic lawmaker hit the ceiling.
“I am still stunned that he would
issue such an amorphous, confusing opinion,” Delegate Emmett C.
Burns Jr. told the Washington Post.
“It's a bucket of warm spit,”
Burns, who is also a Baltimore County Baptist minister, added.
Delegate Don H. Dwyer Jr, an Anne
Arundel County Republican, announced he would file impeachment
charges against Gansler.
“He has betrayed the trust of the
citizens of the state of Maryland by usurping the authority of the
General Assembly and he's [going to] be held accountable for that,”
Dwyer told local ABC affiliate News Channel 8.
Both lawmakers supported a bill that
would have prohibited the state from recognizing legal gay marriages
performed in other states which died
in a key House committee earlier in the month.
A gay marriage law in the District of
Columbia, which cuts into Maryland's western border, is expected to
take effect next week.