Saturday, January 21, 2006

Maryland Judge Declares Marriage Protection Law Unconstitutional

-- (1/20/06)
Circuit Court Judge M. Brooke Murdock ruled today that Maryland's law defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman does not withstand constitutional scrutiny, The Baltimore Sun reported.

Murdock ruled in favor of nine same-sex couples that filed a lawsuit challenging a state law that made same-sex marriage illegal.

"After much study and serious reflection, this court holds that Maryland's statutory prohibition against same-sex marriage cannot withstand constitutional challenge," she wrote. "Although tradition and societal values are important, they cannot be given so much weight that they alone justify a discriminatory statutory classification."

Murdock chose to keep the ruling from taking effect, pending any appeal.

Mat Staver, president and general counsel of Liberty Counsel, said the ruling is further proof of the need for a federal constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

"It is outrageous for a judge to morph into a legislator,"he said. "Marriage should not depend on the stroke of a single judge's pen."

In her decision, Murdock also declared invalid the assumption that a union that includes both a mother and a father makes for a better environment to raise children.

"These assumptions are not rational speculation," she said. "They are broad unsupported generalizations that do not establish a rational relationship between same-sex marriage and the state's interest in promoting procreation, child-rearing and the best interest of children."

Staver reacted with disbelief to such logic.

"It is even more incredible to conclude that there is no conceivable basis to promote marriage between a man and a woman," he said. "To conclude that there is no relationship between male-female marriage and child-rearing, or the best interest of children, shows a lack of respect to the Legislature, to common sense and to social science."

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