Updated Jan. 23, 11:41 a.m. ET
BALTIMORE (BP)–A Maryland judge Jan. 20 struck down that state’s 33-year-old marriage law and ruled that “gay marriage” must be legalized. The ruling is being appealed.
The decision by Judge M. Brooke Murdock is only the latest victory on the state level for homosexual activists, joining recent wins in Massachusetts, California, New York and Washington state. Massachusetts’ highest court in 2003 ordered the state to legalize “gay marriage.” Judges in California, New York and Washington also have issued pro-“gay marriage” rulings, although all of them have been appealed.
In her 20-page ruling, Murdock said that a 1973 law defining marriage as being between one man and one woman violates the Maryland constitution’s Equal Rights Amendment. The marriage law was passed in the early 1970s shortly after a question arose concerning the legality of “gay marriage” in the state.
“Having concluded that preventing same-sex marriage has no rational relationship to any other legitimate state interest, this court concludes that tradition and social values alone cannot support adequately a discriminatory classification,” Murdock wrote.
Although 19 states have passed marriage amendments, homosexual activists have filed “gay marriage” suits in liberal-leaning states where courts are likely to be friendly and marriage amendments are less likely to be successful. Thus far, the Maryland legislature has been cool to the idea of an amendment.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit on behalf of nine homosexual couples and one homosexual individual. Dan Furmansky, executive director of the homosexual group Equality Maryland, called the ruling an “historic moment” for the state.
Murdock asserted that the state’s marriage law served no “compelling government interests.” She rejected arguments that the law’s purpose was tied to procreation and child-rearing, as courts in other states have found.
Conservatives criticized the ruling and vowed to fight for a marriage amendment to the state constitution.
“This is one more outrageous, illogical ruling by a judge with an agenda,” Jan LaRue, an attorney with Concerned Women for America, said in a release. “The law applies equally to two men or two women regardless of their so-called ‘sexual orientation.’ There is no discriminatory classification. It’s bogus.”
One Maryland pro-family group, calling itself VoteMarriage.org, is promoting a marriage amendment. A second group, www.DefendMarylandMarriage.com, is doing the same.
“This will give our marriage campaign a huge shot in the arm,” Tres Kerns, executive director of Votemarriage.org, was quoted as saying on Concerned Women for America’s website.
Although Massachusetts remains the only state with legalized “gay marriage,” that could change by the end of the year. Washington state’s highest court is expected to issue a ruling on the issue any week now, and New Jersey’s highest court will hear a “gay marriage” case in February.
In December of last year, a New York state appeals court upheld the state’s marriage laws — overturning a lower court’s pro-“gay marriage” ruling — but the case is being appealed to the state’s highest court.
All total, nine states are involved in “gay marriage” lawsuits.
For more information about the national debate over “gay marriage,” visit http://www.bpnews.net/samesexmarriage