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Same-sex marriage loses in Maryland by one judge’s vote

Sep 20, 2007 Same-sex marriage loses in Maryland by one judge’s vote

Court of Appeals Judge Lynne A. Battaglia issued lengthy dissent against majority’s conclusion that Maryland’s statutory prohibition against same-sex marriage does not violate Maryland’s Equal Rights Amendment.  (Image from Maryland State Archives website.)

Maryland’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, often is a hospitable place for criminal defendants and individual rights, but not always, of course. On September 18, 2007, a 4-3 Court of Appeals majority ruled that Maryland’s statutory prohibition against same-sex marriages does not violate Maryland’s Equal Rights Amendment.

In an in-depth, well-analyzed, and firm dissent, joined by Chief Judge Robert Bell, Judge Lynne A. Battaglia (a past Clinton-era Maryland U.S. Attorney) insisted: "I would remand this case to the Circuit Court for a full evidentiary hearing. Without expressing an ultimate opinion on whether the State could meet its burden, I believe the State’s unrebutted contention regarding the broad societal interest in retaining traditional marriage presents an issue of triable fact that requires a remand."

The case is Conaway v. Deane, ___ Md. ___ (September 18, 2007). Jon Katz.

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