Maryland Maryland's highest court Tuesday upheld a 34-year-old state law banning same-sex marriage, rejecting an attempt by 19 gay men and lesbians to win the right to marry.
In reversing a lower court's decision, the divided Court of Appeals ruled that limiting marriage to a man and a woman does not discriminate against gay couples or deny them constitutional rights. Although the judges acknowledged that gays and lesbians have been targets of discrimination, they said the prohibition on same-sex marriage promotes the state's interest in heterosexual marriage as a means of having and protecting children.
The 4 to 3 decision cannot be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court because the lawsuit relied solely on state law. But the judges appeared to invite gay rights advocates to pursue their goals through the political system: "Our opinion should by no means be read to imply that the General Assembly may not grant and recognize for homosexual persons civil unions or the right to marry a person of the same sex," Judge Glenn T. Harrell Jr. wrote for the majority.