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Supreme Court Decision to Impact Same-Sex Couples in Maryland

Photo: Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendan Ayanbadejo joins a marriage equality rally at U.S. Supreme Court. Courtesy of Jamie McGonnigal, EqualityPhotography.com.
Photo: Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendan Ayanbadejo joins a marriage equality rally at U.S. Supreme Court. Courtesy of Jamie McGonnigal, EqualityPhotography.com.
March 27, 2013

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - They just celebrated a monumental marriage equality victory at the ballot box. Now, same-sex couples in Maryland are looking for another win at the U.S. Supreme Court.

The justices heard arguments about the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

Activist Jamie McGonnigal, founder of TalkAboutEquality.com, said the law denies legal rights at the federal level for same-sex couples, even in states such as Maryland where their marriage is considered legal.

"We could miraculously pass marriage equality in all 50 states tomorrow," he said, "and, because of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, those couples are still missing more than 1,100 rights and responsibilities that are granted by the federal government."

McGonnigal said the law often means same-sex couples get unfair treatment when it comes to federal tax and immigration policies. It's especially painful, he said, when one partner dies and the surviving partner suffers financially because of the different rules.

"The stories go on and on and on," he said, "and so, some legal recognition on the federal level is vital to Maryland couples."

The Supreme Court's decision is expected in June. The case, Hollingsworth v. Perry, is online at supremecourt.gov.

Alison Burns, Public News Service - MD