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MSBA’s Board of Governors endorses same-sex marriage bill

Add the Maryland State Bar Association’s Board of Governors to the list of organizations supporting same-sex marriage in Maryland.

The Board on Tuesday “voted by an overwhelming majority” to support S.B. 241, which will be taken up by the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on Jan. 31. It was recommended by the MSBA’s Standing Committee on Laws and also has the backing of the Young Lawyers, Family and Juvenile Law, Elder Law, Estates and Trusts, Immigration and Delivery Services sections.

“I could not be prouder of our endorsement, which while protective of religious sensibilities and prerogatives, clearly and emphatically extends those civil rights embodied in our fundamental belief that ‘all men are created equal’ — and not simply ‘all heterosexual persons are created equal’ — to our entire citizenry,” said MSBA President Henry E. Dugan Jr. in a statement.

Maryland would become the seventh jurisdiction allowing same-sex marriage and lawmakers in several other states are also debating the issue. The Washington state Legislature is poised to pass its version of the bill.

Maryland has a “history of non-religious civil marriages that is and has been distinct and entirely separate from religious marriages, and this bill pertains exclusively to these civil marriages and the extensive civil rights that arise from those civil marriages,” Dugan said. “It is fair and just to all while injuring none.”