Originally published on Advocate.com April 08 2012 5:26 PM ET
A lesbian couple who married in California in 2008 and sought a divorce two years later in Maryland should be treated no different than straight couples who married out-of-state, an LGBT rights attorney argued in court Friday.
Appearing before the Maryland Court of Appeals, National Center for Lesbian Rights legal director Shannon Minter said that the state has historically recognized certain marriages from other states, even if they were not allowed in Maryland.
“If you're validly married somewhere else, the rule in Maryland is your marriage is going to be respected in Maryland, and that's what we're asking the court to do here,” Minter said, according to the Associated Press.
The case involves Maryland residents Jessica Port and District of Columbia resident Virginia Anne Cowan. Port, 29, and Cowan, 32, were married in California in 2008 during a window in which gay marriage was legal there. Almost two years later, the couple filed for divorce in Maryland, where they both then lived. Prince George's County Judge A. Michael Chapdelaine declined to grant it.
“The court finds that to recognize the alleged marriage would be contrary to the public policy of Maryland,” Chapdelaine wrote.
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