challenging the constitutionality of Maryland's ban on
same-sex marriage came before the state's highest
court in Annapolis on Monday, with an attorney
for the plaintiffs arguing that marriage is a
fundamental right. The state argued that the question should
be left to the state legislature. "The general
assembly is the proper forum to weigh these issues,"
said Robert Zarnoch, counsel to the general assembly.
A Baltimore circuit judge ruled in January that
Maryland's 1973 law defining marriage as a union
between a man and a woman was unconstitutional. The
state immediately appealed that ruling to the Maryland
court of appeals.
"The exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage
violates the most fundamental guarantees of equality
and liberty for all," said Kenneth Choe, who
represents the 19 plaintiffs. The plaintiffs are nine gay
couples and a man whose male partner has died. (Ben Nuckols,