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A Baltimore judge's ruling this morning that invalidates the state law defining marriage as a union between a man and woman hasn't prompted a rush to the county clerk. After all, Circuit Judge Brooke Murdock stayed her own ruling, pending the inevitable appeals.

But it has lit a match in Annapolis, where every politician is measuring his or her response to the combustible issue. Some Republicans are pushing to put a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage on the ballot this November. That's a long shot in the legislature, given the need for three-fifths approval from the Democrat-dominated General Assembly. But the judge's ruling makes it harder to avoid a discussion on the matter.

Republican Gov. Bob Ehrlich, for his part, is assessing his options, including the constitutional route.

"I am going to take the appropriate steps to protect marriage," he said at an afternoon news conference.

Maryland has had a law in effect since 1973 defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Nineteen gay men and women filed suit last year, arguing that the law was unconstitutional.

Murdock wrote that "although tradition and societal values are important, they cannot be given so much weight that they alone will justify a discriminatory statutory classification."

Matt Mosk

By Phyllis Jordan  |  January 20, 2006; 1:25 PM ET
Categories:  General Assembly , Same-Sex Marriage  
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Comments

Makes me proud to be a citizen of Maryland.

Posted by: Kate | January 20, 2006 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Maryland hopefully will become the second state to allow gay marriage, and the country will be better off because of it.

Posted by: Scott | January 20, 2006 5:05 PM | Report abuse

I am pleased with the judge's ruling. My only quibble is that the ruling was stayed. Gay and lesbian couples should not suffer continued discrimination. Enough is enough.

Posted by: Javed | January 20, 2006 5:51 PM | Report abuse

I cant say I understand gay people that well, but this just seems like an issue of fairness, nothing more, nothing less.

Posted by: John | January 20, 2006 5:52 PM | Report abuse

While this may be a temporary victory, it's an important one. I am pleased that the judge recognized there wasn't even a RATIONAL basis for such discrimination.

Posted by: Rick | January 20, 2006 6:07 PM | Report abuse

John,

Thanks for your comments. I would say that there really isn't much to "understand" about gay people. What you feel for your wife or girlfriend is what I feel for my partner. Love is love. It really doesn't help to try to "understand" it, does it?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 20, 2006 6:10 PM | Report abuse

A proud day for Maryland and for those who champion civil rights.

Posted by: MDProgressive | January 20, 2006 6:14 PM | Report abuse

As a Maryland lesbian who plans to drag my partner to the altar the day marriage becomes legal, I'm not particularly disturbed by the stay. Better to have the issue resolved by the state's highest court (and not susceptible to reversal) before we start lining up at the offices of the justice of the peace. If Judge Murdock hadn't issued a stay, and couples were permitted to marry immediately, those marriages might be thrown into legal chaos if an interim court reversed Judge Murdock's decision.

Posted by: Denise | January 20, 2006 6:28 PM | Report abuse

This is a great ruling for Maryland. More and stonger families is what family values is really all about.

Posted by: David in PA | January 21, 2006 12:12 AM | Report abuse

Thank heaven for judges who can apply the law to the facts, and reach the right result without flinching. And damn the activist legislators who find the consitution too egalitarian and the judiciary too enlightened for the tastes of their constituents.

Posted by: Richard | January 21, 2006 12:30 AM | Report abuse

I too can't wait for the day in Maryland where we can celebrate the LOVE of everyone.. Yay one more step towards victory :) :)

Posted by: Rachel | January 21, 2006 1:43 PM | Report abuse

uuaqu oekil

Posted by: Gartheride | March 2, 2006 7:42 PM | Report abuse

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