Maryland’s highest court has issued a ruling that effectively gives legal recognition to gay marriages that were legally performed in other states. According to the Chicago Tribune, Jessica Port and Virginia Anne Cowan, who were legally married in the state of California, sought an uncontested divorce in Prince George’s County. The trial judge denied the parties’ divorce petition, on the grounds that same sex marriage was not legal in Maryland, and they appealed. On appeal, the Maryland Court of Appeals issued an unanimous decision that a trial court cannot deny a divorce petition filed by a same-sex couple who was legally married in another state. The appellate court directed that the case be returned to the Prince George’s County Circuit Court, with the instruction to grant the parties’ divorce petition.
While this ruling does not extend to recognition of same-sex marriages in Maryland aside from a couple’s right to divorce, Maryland state officials have hailed the decision as a groundbreaking ruling that is sure to bring about other rights for same-sex couples in the state. However, this decision does not impact the current federal law, which defines marriage solely as being between a man and a woman.
As more and more same-sex couples undergo legal marriage in the United States, we are likely to see other court rulings and laws that govern divorce, child custody, and property division for these couples. Legal experts anticipate that the U.S. Supreme Court may even confront the issue in the near future.
Given the increasingly complex developments in this area of the law, it is essential that you get the advice and counsel of a knowledgeable Oakbrook, Illinois divorce attorney with experience in these matters. Contact our office today for a thorough consultation regarding your individual situation, and get the advice that you need.