Conaway v. Deane

Decision Date18 September 2007
Docket NumberNo. 44, Sept. Term, 2006.,44, Sept. Term, 2006.
Citation401 Md. 219,932 A.2d 571
PartiesFrank CONAWAY, et al. v. Gitanjali DEANE, et al.
CourtCourt of Special Appeals of Maryland

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 and GREENE, JJ.

HARRELL, J.

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 Article 24 of the Declaration of Rights.3 Defendants-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 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).

Eighteen of the Appellees here are nine same-sex couples who, at various times in June and July 2004, sought marriage licenses in Baltimore City and several counties in Maryland. The nineteenth Respondent is a homosexual male who expressed a wish to apply in the future for a marriage license.4 Frank Conaway, Clerk of the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, and the other circuit court clerks denied5 these applications pursuant to Family Law § 2-201, which provides that "[o]nly a marriage between a man and a woman is valid in this State," thereby depriving Appellees of the various benefits and privileges that accompany the institution of marriage.6 It is undisputed that Appellees were denied marriage...

To continue reading

Request your trial
86 cases
  • Varnum v. Brien
    • United States
    • Iowa Supreme Court
    • April 3, 2009
    ...civil marriages differentiates implicitly on the basis of sexual orientation. See Kerrigan, 957 A.2d at 431 n. 24; Conaway v. Deane, 401 Md. 219, 932 A.2d 571, 605 (2007). Thus, we proceed to analyze the constitutionality of the statute based on sexual orientation F. Framework for Determini......
  • Kim v. Bd. of Liquor License Commissioners for Balt. City
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • June 29, 2022
    ...subject to strict scrutiny unless it ‘is necessary to promote a compelling governmental interest.’ " Id. (quoting Conaway v. Deane , 401 Md. 219, 272-73, 932 A.2d 571 (2007) ). Where the strict scrutiny lens is appropriately applied, challenged laws "rarely survive the legal glare." Id. at ......
  • Lowe v. Swanson, No. 5:08 CV 686.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Northern District of Ohio
    • July 7, 2009
    ...1138, 1143 (W.D.Wash.2006); United States v. Extreme Assocs., Inc., 352 F.Supp.2d 578, 591 (W.D.Pa.2005); Conaway v. Deane, 401 Md. 219, 310, 932 A.2d 571 (Md. 2007); Ex parte Morales, 212 S.W.3d 483, 493 (Tex.App.2006); State v. Limon, 280 Kan. 275, 122 P.3d 22, 29 (2005); Martin v. Ziherl......
  • Pizza Di Joey, LLC v. Mayor & City Council of Balt.
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • August 17, 2020
    ...statute that is subject to strict scrutiny unless it "is necessary to promote a compelling governmental interest." Conaway v. Deane , 401 Md. 219, 272-73, 932 A.2d 571 (2007), abrogated on other grounds by Obergefell v. Hodges , 576 U.S. 644, 135 S. Ct. 2584, 192 L.Ed.2d 609 (2015). Because......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
15 books & journal articles
  • Equal Protection
    • United States
    • Georgetown Journal of Gender and the Law No. XXIII-2, January 2022
    • January 1, 2022
    ...basis for the legislature to draw the line between opposite-sex couples . . . and same-sex couples . . . .”). 371. Conaway v. Deane, 932 A.2d 571, 634 (Md. 2007). 372. See Andersen v. King Cnty., 138 P.3d 963 (Wash. 2006) (upholding a same-sex marriage statutory ban under rational basis rev......
  • LEGITIMIZING ILLEGITIMACY IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW.
    • United States
    • Washington University Law Review Vol. 99 No. 6, August 2022
    • August 1, 2022
    ...2013 WL 840028; Brief of American Psychological Ass'n et al. as Amici Curiae in Support of Plaintiffs-Appellees, Conaway v. Deane, 932 A.2d 571 (Md. 2007) (No. 44), 2006 WL 3096521; see also Murray, supra note 7, at 419 (discussing the "illegitimacy as injury" argument in the context of mar......
  • Marriage, Biology, and Federal Benefits
    • United States
    • Iowa Law Review No. 98-4, May 2013
    • May 1, 2013
    ...parents, from the institution of civil marriage.”), cert. granted , 81 U.S.L.W. 3116 (U.S. Dec. 7, 2012) (No. 12-307); Conaway v. Deane, 932 A.2d 571, 630–34 (Md. 2007); Hernandez v. Robles, 855 N.E.2d 1, 7 (N.Y. 2006); 2013] MARRIAGE, BIOLOGY, AND FEDERAL BENEFITS 1471 While there are vari......
  • Is same-sex marriage a threat to traditional marriages?: How courts struggle with the question.
    • United States
    • Washington University Global Studies Law Review No. 10-1, January 2011
    • January 1, 2011
    ...of same-sex marriage would promote all of the state interests furthered by the recognition of traditional marriages); Conaway v. Deane, 932 A.2d 571, 630-33 (Md. 2007) (holding that although the State's limitation of marriage to heterosexual couples might be both over-inclusive and under-in......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT