Maryland’s Highest Court Allows Same-Sex Divorce

May 18, 2012
Louis Sternberg

Today, Maryland’s highest court (Court of Appeals), in the case of Port v. Cowan, unanimously ruled that the state can grant divorces to same-sex couples legally married in other states.  The decision states that “a valid out-of-state same-sex marriage should be treated by Maryland courts as worthy of divorce” and clears the way for same-sex divorce in Maryland.

The couple, Jessica Port and Virginia Anne Cowan married in 2008 in the state of California.  Subsequently, Ms. Port filed for divorce in Prince George’s County, Maryland but the court refused to grant the divorce because “the marriage was ‘not valid’ and ‘contrary to the public policy of Maryland.'”  The Court of Appeals disagreed and ruled that the state could grant such a divorce.

Just this year, Maryland passed a bill allowing same-sex marriage to go into effect on January 1, 2013 but opponents have drafted a referendum to overturn the law.