Maryland’s highest court on Tuesday upheld a state law defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman, ending a lawsuit filed by same-sex couples who claimed they were being denied equal protection under the law.
Maryland’s 1973 ban on gay marriage does not discriminate on the basis of gender and does not deny any fundamental rights, the Court of Appeals ruled in a 4-3 decision. It also said the state has a legitimate interest in promoting opposite-sex marriage.
“Our opinion should by no means be read to imply that the General Assembly may not grant and recognize for homosexual persons civil unions or the right to marry a person of the same sex,” Judge Glenn T. Harrell Jr. wrote for the majority.
Legislators on both sides of the debate predicted action on the issue in the next session.
Plaintiffs in the lawsuit condemned the ruling.
“I think history will hold them in contempt,” plaintiff Lisa Polyak said of the judges. “To create a legal solution in a vacuum, that doesn’t recognize that the constitution is there to support the people, is to create an ignorant and irrelevant solution.”