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Maryland's battle over Same sex Marriages - Update


Subject : Report on Maryland's Marriage Equality Case
Date : Wed, 31 Aug 2005 21:39:58 GMT
Dear M. AnnaMarie,

Yesterday was a very exciting day for our movement! Oral arguments in Baltimore Circuit Court took place for Deane & Polyak v. Conaway, Maryland’s marriage equality litigation.  Judge Brooke Murdoch heard from ACLU attorneys about the harms posed to nine gay and lesbian couples and one widowed man because of their inability to marry.  Attorney Kenneth Choe told the judge that the denial of marriage licenses violated the equal protection clause and the equal rights amendment of the Maryland Constitution, as well as the fundamental right to marry, amounting to discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender. 

The State argued that the Legislature should be able to “weigh the consequences” and “assess the impact”  of the matter.  When asked by Judge Murdoch to “explain the harm posed to the state by allowing these couples to marry,” attorneys for the state had a difficult time finding any justification.

More than 75 people from all over the state gathered in front of the Mitchell Courthouse to show their support for the plaintiffs in the suit.  As our side descended the steps following deliberations, cheers exploded from the crowd in support of the nine couples and one individual who are challenging current state law.  The opposition amounted to just a few people – enough to count on one  hand.

Supporters gathered around the plaintiffs as they spoke to the press of the experiences that led them to the forefront of Maryland’s Marriage Equality Movement.  Lisa Polyak spoke of being kicked out of the birthing room while her partner, Gita, was in labor.  Stacey Kargman-Kaye discussed being treated like a stranger and denied access to her own son during a medical emergency after he was born.  John Lestitian explained that when his partner passed away, he lost the home they shared.  Conspicuously absent was Donna Myers and Maria Barquero.  Donna, who lives in Southern Maryland, cannot sponsor Maria for a green card to stay in the country; therefore, Donna must travel to South America just to be with Maria.

While today was a huge step forward for us, we must keep in mind that this fight is far from over. Judge Murdoch will weigh the arguments and issue a written opinion.  There is no telling how long a ruling will take.  Whichever side loses, an appeal to the state’s highest court is expected. 

Please click here to donate to Equality Maryland now!  We need your help to continue to traverse the state and talk to lawmakers, the press, clergy, civil rights groups, and others.  Our lobbying efforts and educational efforts are year-round.

We have just made it easier than ever to make an online donation to Equality Maryland, directly through our secure web site, and with no third party vendors like PayPal to drive you bonkers through the process.

We’re working for equality, for YOU, and for Maryland, day in and day out.  Please donate now!     

In Partnership and Equality,

Dan Furmansky
Executive Director

For more information on Deane & Polyak v. Conaway, please click here.


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