good news for gays!!!! gay marriage may soon be legal in Maryland

Court voids Md. ban on gay marriage

Associated Press Jan. 21, 2006 12:00 AM

BALTIMORE - A Baltimore judge struck down a 33-year-old state law against gay marriage Friday, declaring it violates the Maryland Constitution's guarantee of equal rights.

Circuit Judge M. Brooke Murdock immediately stayed her order to allow the state to file an appeal with Maryland's highest court, the Court of Appeals.

The attorney general's office did so later in the day.

Murdock ruled in favor of 19 gay men and women, rejecting a state argument that the traditional family is ideal for children. "Although tradition and societal values are important, they cannot be given so much weight that they alone will justify a discriminatory" law, she wrote.

Massachusetts is the only state to allow gay marriage.

Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich, a Republican, said he was disappointed by the ruling and that his staff is weighing options, including seeking a constitutional amendment to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman, which is the definition under state law.

The ruling came in a lawsuit filed in 2004 by the American Civil Liberties Union. It named court clerks in Baltimore and four counties as defendants and challenged the 1973 state law defining marriage.

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