January 20, 2006

More Maryland Madness

by PG

And moving from the beloved of some conservatives to the, well, less-beloved: a Baltimore judge this morning declared Maryland's 33-year-old definition of marriage as union between a man and a woman to be a discriminatory statutory classification and therefore unconstitutional under Maryland's equal rights and due process amendments. Governor Ehrlich* responded, "I am going to take the appropriate steps to protect marriage"; Republican legislators jumped up to add Maryland to the list of states with FMAs; and Democratic legislators cautioned sexual orientation equality groups to cork their enthusiasm.

I am not going to comment on Circuit Judge M. Brooke Murdock's opinion, as its rationale fits with my own opinion on most matters dealing with sexual orientation: Are you distinguishing between men and women when the law doesn't explicitly involve biological functioning? Then it's sex discrimination without a sufficient state interest. Because the Maryland Constitution has an Equal Rights Amendment (unlike the federal constitution, alas!) stating that "equality of rights under the law shall not be abridged or denied because of sex," Murdock applies a strict scrutiny standard and declares that the law is not narrowly tailored to serve any compelling governmental interest. Points for managing not to say Loving until the bottom of page 7...

* Running for re-election this year, Ehrlich is betting on knowing where the political middle of Maryland is; he'll probably sign on to an FMA, but he's also proposed legislation to make a database of advance directives, so adults can designate any person of their choosing to make their medical decisions and have that person known quickly and easily to health care professionals.

January 20, 2006 07:26 PM | TrackBack
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