Prospects For New Legal Advice for Marylanders
Happy Belated Valentine’s Day! And in this the season of love, we don’t think we’ve ever been so anxious and excited about being Marylanders. In case you didn’t know, Maryland is on the cusp of joining the 21st century – the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act may just make it out of the Senate. The Senator-Support tally is changing by the minute and we can hardly stifle our enthusiasm over what could be a remarkable occasion.
So, how would marriage recognition change our legal advice for our Maryland clients (and clients in other, similarly situated states)? Well, as long as the United States continues to look like the marriage-recognition checkerboard that it does and as long as we don’t have federal marriage recognition, it probably won’t change much our recommendations about taking some extra precautions to protect your same-sex spouse – especially if you plan to travel at all (and there are Marylanders who, every day, travel for work to Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Virginia (ugh). But it does mean that these couples will have access to additional legal protections here in Maryland and that the conversation about marriage will be changing.
But the deepest significance of marriage for any of couple, straight or gay, is not the legal rights that are wrought with the wedding. Rather, marriage is the key that opens the door to day-to-day recognition of the significance of the tie that binds us to our partner. It is the social cradle that is afforded the family that springs from it – and that cradle affords marital relationship a quantum of dignity from the time they marry until death parts them that is beyond measure.
So, Happy Valentine’s Day! We hope yours was great and we hope for some seasonal news out of Maryland this week. Of course, we want and encourage you to pay attention to the legal aspects of your relationship. So, like always, we welcome your questions and encourage you to ask them before your big day.
Heather & Emily
Heather McCabe and Emily Russell are family law practitioners who regularly serve the LGBT community in all kinds of legal affairs – from adoptions to dissolutions/divorces. McCabe has taught family law and legal writing and has been on the faculty at Georgetown Law, American University, and University of Baltimore. Russell worked as a lobbyist before coming to the law. Whether through document drafting, mediation, collaborative law, or litigation, McCabe and Russell are committed to the creation and security of the unique families they serve.