AG Gansler: Utah Same-sex Marriages are Valid in Md.

2010 opinion on recognition of legal same-sex marriages performed in other states underpins view that Maryland would recognize Utah unions

BALTIMORE (January 10, 2014)—In response to a request from the Human Right Campaign, Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler has expressed his view that recent same-sex marriages legally performed in Utah should and would be recognized in Maryland. This week the United States Supreme Court issued a stay on performing such unions in Utah after a court ruling there struck down a same-sex marriage ban. As a result of that decision, Utah determined same-sex marriages to be legal and, for 17 days, more than 1300 such marriage licenses were issued until the stay by the Supreme Court ended the practice.

“Maryland will continue to recognize valid out-of-state same-sex marriages as we continue to strengthen the Constitution’s promise of equal protection under the law,” said Attorney General Gansler. “It is an affront to the idea of basic human rights that the battle for full marriage equality in this country remains in headlines and courtrooms.”

The Obama administration today also issued a statement saying that the federal government would recognize same-sex unions performed in Utah despite the fact that the state government of Utah is refusing to do.

From the letter by Attorney General Gansler to Chad Griffin, President of the Human Rights Campaign:

Although Utah officials have stated that no new marriages may be solemnized, and that the state would not recognize the already-solemnized marriages for purposes of providing additional state benefits, we are not aware of any court ruling or position of the Utah Attorney General that such marriages are no longer legally valid. In fact, the Utah Attorney General has made clear that the marriages at issue are valid for purposes of providing “proper documentation in states that recognize same-sex marriage.”


Nevertheless, as courts and legislatures accord same-sex couples the dignity and humanity they deserve, we as a nation move closer to fulfilling the Constitution’s promise of equal protection of the law. Maryland will continue to recognize valid out-of-state same-sex marriages as we continue to advance that effort wherever and whenever we can.

To see the letter from Attorney General Gansler to The Human Rights Campaign visit:

To see the letter from The Human Rights Campaign to Attorney General Gansler and 17 other attorneys general visit:

To see the Attorney General’s 2010 Opinion on same-sex marriage visit:

Source: Office of Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler

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