932 A.2d 571 (Md. 2007), 44, Conaway v. Deane

Docket Nº:44
Citation:932 A.2d 571, 401 Md. 219
Opinion Judge:HARRELL, J.
Party Name:Frank CONAWAY, et al. v. Gitanjali DEANE, et al.
Attorney:Robert A. Zarnoch, Asst. Atty. Gen. (J. Joseph Curran, Jr., Atty. Gen. of Maryland, and Kathryn M. Rowe, Asst. Atty. Gen., Annapolis; Margaret Ann Nolan and Steven M. Sullivan, Asst. Attys. Gen., Baltimore), all on brief, for Appellants., David W. New, Bethesda, petition and brief of Professors o...
Case Date:September 18, 2007
Court:Court of Appeals of Maryland
 
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932 A.2d 571 (Md. 2007)

401 Md. 219

Frank CONAWAY, et al.

v.

Gitanjali DEANE, et al.

No. 44

Court of Appeals of Maryland

September 18, 2007

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Robert A. Zarnoch, Asst. Atty. Gen. (J. Joseph Curran, Jr., Atty. Gen. of Maryland, and Kathryn M. Rowe, Asst. Atty. Gen., Annapolis; Margaret Ann Nolan and Steven M. Sullivan, Asst. Attys. Gen., Baltimore), all on brief, for Appellants.

David W. New, Bethesda, petition and brief of Professors of Psychology and Psychiatry in Support of Defendants-Appellants, amici curiae.

Matt M. Paavola, Law Office of Matt M. Paavola & Assoc., Francis A. Pommett, III, Law Offices of Nathanson & Pommett, P.C., William F. Mulroney, Ashcraft & Gerel, LLP, Baltimore, brief of Senators Janet Greenip, Alex X. Mooney, and Delegates Don Dwyer, Jr., Patrick L. McDonough, Richard K. Impallaria, Tonya Thornton Shewell, Joseph C. Boteler, III, Tony McConkey, Christopher B. Shank and Emmett C. Burns, Jr., for Appellants, amicus Curiae.

Steven L. Tiedemann, Columbia, Benjamin W. Bull, Glen Lavy, Christopher R. Stovall, Dale Schowengerdt, Alliance Defense Fund, Scottsdale, AZ, brief of Family Research Council in support of Defendants-Appellants, amicus curiae.

David Kinkopf, Gallagher Evelius & Jones, LLP, Baltimore, Paul Benjamin Linton, Northbrook, IL, brief of the Maryland Catholic Conference in support of Defendants-Appellants, amici curiae.

John R. Garza, Rockville, Erik W. Stanley, Mary E. McAlister, Liberty Counsel, Lynchburg, VA, brief of Association of Maryland Families and Liberty Counsel in support of Appellants, amici curiae.

Timothy Barkley, Sr., Tim Barkley Law Offices, Mt. Airy, brief of the National Legal Foundation, for appellants, amicus curiae.

Joshua K. Baker, Institute for Marriage and Public Policy, Manassas, VA, Charles J. Jannace, III, Charles J. Jannace, III, P.C., Salisbury, brief of James Q. Wilson, et al., Legal and Family Scholars, in support of Defendants-Appellants, amici curiae.

Lincoln C. Oliphant, Robert A. Destro, Anne G. Collins, Robert E. Mittendorff, Peter A. Gebauer, The Marriage Law Project, Washington, DC, Paul R. Devin, Supreme Advocate, New Haven, CT, J. Bradley Ortins, Washington, DC, petition and brief of the Knights of Columbus in support of Defendants-Appellants, amicus curiae.

Roman P. Storzer, Storzer & Greene, P.L.L.C., Anthony R. Picarello, Roger T. Severino, The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, Washington, DC, brief of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty in support of Defendants-Appellants and Urging

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Reversal of the Decision of the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, amicus curiae.

Dwight G. Duncan, North Dartmouth, MA, James P. Gleason, Jr., Rockville, brief of Alliance for Marriage in support of Defendants-Appellants, amicus curiae.

Vincent P. McCarthy, Kristina J. Wenberg, Laura B. Hernandez, American Center for Law & Justice Northeast, Inc., New Milford, CT, Owen McDonnell Taylor, Glen Burnie, brief of the American Center for Law & Justice, Northeast, Inc., in support of Defendant-Appellant, amicus curiae.

Monte N. Stewart, Marriage Law Foundation, Orem, UT, C. Paul Smith, Rockville, petition and brief of Citizens for Traditional Families, Family Leader Foundation, and United Families International in support of Defendants-Appellants, amici curiae.

Toni Marie Davis, Baltimore, for appellees, amici curiae.

Stuart F. Delery, Nora Freeman Engstrom, Benjamin C. Mizer, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, LLP, Washington, DC, brief of Equality Maryland, Inc.; Families with Pride; Gay Fathers Coalition; Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center of Baltimore and Central Maryland; Maryland Lesbian & Gay Law Association; PFLAG Baltimore; PFLAG Columbia/Howard County; Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders; Human Rights Campaign; Human Rights Campaign Foundation; National Black Justice Coalition; National Center for Lesbian Rights; and National Gay and Lesbian Task Force in support of appellees, amici curiae.

Susan Sommer, Lambda Legal, New York, NY, C. Christopher Brown, Brown, Goldstein & Levy, LLP, Baltimore, Helene B. Madonick, Amy L. McGinnis, Leslie M. Hill, Joshua I. Kaplan, Arnold & Porter, LLP, Washington, DC, brief Addressing Proper Application of Maryland's Rational Review Standards Submitted by the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, the Maryland Disability Law Center, Maryland Adapt, the National Council on Independent Living, the National Mental Health Association, the National Senior Citizens Law Center, and People for the American Way, for appellees, amici curiae.

Lawrence P. Fletcher-Hill, Gordon, Feinblatt, Rothman, Hoffberger & Hollander, LLC, brief of Religious Organizations and Leaders, for appellees, amici curiae.

Dan Friedman, Robin D. Leone, Saul Ewing, LLP, Baltimore, brief of Maryland Law Professors, for appellees, amici curiae.

William M. Hohengarten, Jenner & Block, LLP, Nathalie F.P. Gilfoyle, American Psychological Association, Paul M. Smith, Eric Berger, Jenner & Block, LLP, Washington, DC, brief of American Psychological Association, Maryland Psychological Association, Baltimore Psychological Association, and American Psychiatric Association in support of Plaintiffs-Appellees, amici curiae.

Carmen M. Shepard, Buc & Beardsley, Washington, DC, brief of the National Association of Social Workers, the Maryland Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, Maryland Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Ellen C. Perrin, M.D., Judith Stacey and Timothy Biblarz, for appellees, amicus curiae.

Cheryl Lynn Hepfer, President, American Acedemy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Chicago, IL, Susan Carol Elgin, Secretary, American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Towson, brief in support of appellees, Gitanjali Deane & Lisa Polyak, et al., amici curiae.

Suzanne Sangree, Janet Hostetler, Murnaghan Appellate Advocacy Fellow, Baltimore,

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Beth Mellen Harrison, Rockville, brief of Organization of American Historians; Bar Association of Baltimore City; Maryland Latino Coalition for Justice; Maryland NOW; National Lawyer's Guild-Maryland; Public Justice Center; James & Colette Roberts; City of Takoma Park; the Women's Law Center of Maryland, Inc.; Asian American Justice Center; Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund; Freedom to Marry; Legal Momentum; National Organization of Women Foundation; Southern Poverty Law Center; and 34 Individual Historians & Scholars, for appellees, amici curiae.

Theodore M. Shaw, Jacqueline A. Berrien, Norman J. Chachkin, Victor A. Bolden, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., Roberta A. Kaplan, Andrew J. Ehrlich, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, LLP, New York, NY, Craig A. Benson, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, LLP, Washington, DC, petition and brief of NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., for appellees, amici curiae.

Argued before Bell, C.J., Raker,[*]Wilner Cathell, Harrell, Battaglia, Greene, JJ.

OPINION

HARRELL, J.

[401 Md. 237] Frank Conaway, Clerk of the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, and other circuit court clerks throughout Maryland ("the Clerks") denied marriage licenses to certain same-sex couples. The Clerks denied those applications pursuant to Maryland Code (1957, 2006 Repl. Vol.), Family Law Article, § 2-201 (hereinafter "Family Law § 2-201"). 1 The Circuit Court for Baltimore City, where the aggrieved applicants filed suit against the Clerks, granted summary judgment in favor of the Plaintiffs-Appellees, declaring that the statute discriminates facially on the basis of sex, in violation of Article 46 of the Declaration of Rights of Maryland, otherwise known as the Equal Rights Amendment ("ERA"). 2 The Circuit Court, in its memorandum opinion, expressly declined to address Appellees' equal protection and substantive due process arguments that were based on the "Law of the Land" provisions of [401 Md. 238] Article 24 of the Declaration of Rights. 3 Defend ants-Appellants noted a timely appeal to the Court of Special Appeals. We issued a writ of certiorari to the intermediate appellate court before it could decide the appeal. 393 Md. 477, 903 A.2d 416 (2006). For the reasons stated here, we shall reverse the judgment of the Circuit Court.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

The factual background, much like challenges to similar state marriage statutes in other jurisdictions, is undisputed. Maryland law provides that no individuals may marry "in this State without a license issued

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by the clerk for the county in which the marriage is performed." MD.CODE (1957, 2006 Repl. Vol.), Family Law Article, § 2-401(a). In order to apply for such a license, at least one of the parties to the marriage must appear before the clerk of the circuit court for that county and, under oath, provide the following information: (1) the full name of each party; (2) the residence of each party; (3) each party's age; (4) the degree of consanguinity, if any, between the parties; (5) the marital status of each of the parties; and (6) the social security number of each party. MD.CODE (1957, 2006 Repl.Vol.), Family Law Article, § 2-402(b). If, while questioning an applicant, "the clerk finds that there is a legal reason why the applicants should not be married, the clerk shall withhold the license unless ordered by the court to issue the license." MD.CODE (1957, 2006 Repl. Vol.), Family Law Article, § 2-405(e).

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