Maryland Court Says State Cannot Bar Same-Sex Couples from Marriage Protections

BALTIMORE (AP) -- A judge on Friday struck down a 33-year-old Maryland law against same-sex marriage, agreeing with 19 gay men and women that it violates the state constitution's guarantee of equal rights.

The ruling by Judge M. Brooke Murdock rejected a state argument that the government had a legitimate interest in protecting the traditional family unit of heterosexual parents.

''Although tradition and societal values are important, they cannot be given so much weight that they alone will justify a discriminatory'' law, she wrote.

The judge immediately stayed her order to give the state time to file an expected appeal in Maryland's highest court, the Court of Appeals.

Details here from the AP via the New York Times. The Court's opinion is here.