Maryland’s Same-Sex Marriage Decision

On Tuesday, the Court of Appeals, in a 4 to 3 majority, declined an attempt to legalize gay marriage. The majority did, however, underscore the legislature’s authority to choose to legalize same-sex marriage.

The Court reversed Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Brooke Murdock’s decision which found that the marriage statute, Family Law Article 2-201, which defined marriage as between a man and a woman was unconstitutional because it discriminated based on gender, thereby violating the Equal Rights amendment.

The opinion contained a partial concurrence/dissent and two dissenting opinions, one by Chief Judge Robert Bell. The majority held that the Equal Rights Amendment was not violated because the law discriminates equally between men and women who wished to engage in same-sex marriage (as opposed to only one of the sexes not being able to marry). This is a brilliant application of the law or the twisting of logic to get to the result the Court wanted to reach. I cannot decide. Either way, the ball is still in the hands of the Maryland legislature.

The court issued four opinions totaling 244 pages. I have to think this is a record. This reflects the angst of this court on this incredibly emotional issue. Obviously, this decision will probably set off a flurry of activity from activists on both sides of the issue.

I will not ramble on about my own views on this issue. But I will say this: I can understand the depth of emotion gays have on this issue, their fight to be in the mainstream of society. I understand people who think like Hillary Clinton (who is obviously very liberal) and believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. I appreciate both arguments. I just think it is a little odd to be so passionate about excluding someone or denying the rights of another person. They might believe gay marriage is wrong. But I can’t see how they can get so worked up over excluding someone. From where does that passion come?