Maryland joins New York as the second state to recognize same-sex marriages from other states, but not perform them.
Maryland’s attorney general said Wednesday that the state should immediately start recognizing same-sex marriages performed elsewhere, a decision that is certain to draw quick legal or legislative challenges.
The opinion appears to place Maryland alongside New York in its view of out-of-state gay marriages. Until now, New York was the only state that didn't perform same-sex weddings but offered gay couples married elsewhere the same legal protections that married heterosexual couples enjoy.
Washington, D.C., which is expected to begin issuing marriage licenses to gay couples this spring, also honors same-sex marriages performed elsewhere. California recognizes some out-of-state gay marriages.
Attorney General Douglas Gansler issued his opinion Wednesday in response to a lawmaker’s question about how the state should regard gay couples legally wed elsewhere.
"State agencies in Maryland will recognize out-of-state gay marriages as of right now," Mr. Gansler said at a press conference, according to The Washington Post.
Since Washington is set to begin performing same-sex marriages in the coming weeks, there is some concern among state legislators that gay couples in Maryland will simply marry in Washington and sidestep the state's law. According to The Baltimore Sun, one lawmaker has introduced a bill that would ban the state from honoring those unions.