Maryland’s Attorney General Doug Gansler released an advisory opinion today stating that the state may recognize the marriages of lesbian and gay couples conducted legally in other jurisdictions.

Maryland has a state law defining legal marriage as the special right of heterosexual couples, so gay and lesbian couples cannot wed there.  However, Washington, D.C.’s new marriage equality law is expected to go into effect on March 3rd after the Congressional review process is over.  Thus lesbian and gay Marylanders will not have to travel far to marry, and there is no legal reason why their marriages can’t be recognized by the government back home.

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force responds to AG Gansler’s opinion:

“This opinion by Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler affirms the dignity of marriages of same-sex couples performed in other jurisdictions. While the opinion doesn’t change current Maryland law, it states that same-sex marriages performed out-of-state may be honored at home by various Maryland state agencies. We thank the attorney general for his important opinion and urge state agencies to take steps immediately to honor the legal marriages of these same-sex couples.

“We look forward to the day when same-sex couples in Maryland can obtain marriage licenses within their own borders. We look forward to full marriage equality in Maryland, when same-sex couples can be legally married in the state where they live, work, raise their children and make their homes.”