In an opinion filed May 18, the Maryland Court of Appeals ruled that Maryland's divorce laws apply to valid same-sex marriages from other states. The decision overrules a ruling of the Prince George's County Circuit Court.
The case arose when a women who had been legally married to another women when living in California filed for divorce after she moved to Prince George's County. In making its ruling, the court relied upon the long standing practice of recognizing valid out-of-state marriages even if the marriage would not be valid under Maryland law. This legal principle, known as comity, applies so long as the legislature has not passed a law making recognizing an out-of-state marriage illegal. Maryland (at the time the case came to court) does have a law outlawing same-sex marriages from being performed in the state, but there is no law invalidating same-sex marriages performed in states where they are allowed. Thus, the court ruled that Maryland's divorce laws apply to the valid California marriage.