July 5, 2012
Authored by: Caitlin Murphy, Jordan Ware and Mary Ann Mancini
In a recent decision, Port v. Cowan, 2012 Md. Lexis 283 (May 18, 2012), the Maryland Court of Appeals held that Maryland courts will recognize a valid same-sex marriage entered into in another state for purposes of granting a divorce to such same-sex spouses who otherwise meet the criteria for divorce under the laws of Maryland. In support of its unanimous decision, the court cited the the general rule that Maryland courts will honor marriages entered into in another state, as long as the marriage was valid in the state where it was performed. Further, that court determined that recognition of a validly-performed out-of-state same-sex marriage is not repugnant to, but is actually consistent with Maryland public policy, in light of several currently enacted Maryland laws that protect and support same-sex couples.
As discussed in a recent article on CNN.com, Port v. Cowan highlights the challenge faced by