Here's perhaps the most amazing part of this ruling -- it was unanimous! And written by the same (conservative) judge who five years ago wrote the majority opinion in Conaway v. Deane upholding the state's ban on same-sex marriage. In other words, the same judge who wrote that the Maryland constitution does not require the state to marry same-sex couples has now ruled that recognizing such marriages from elsewhere is not repugnant to the state's public policy and therefore they are valid in Maryland under the doctrine of comity.
My favorite part of the opinion, however, is what it says about gay people raising children. First it refers to its own decisions banning discrimination in custody/visitation disputes. (I'm proud to say that I was appellate counsel on one of the cited cases, Boswell v. Boswell.) Then there's a footnote that says the following:
Although the issue has not been addressed in a holding by the Court, Judge Raker, in her concurring/dissenting opinion in Conaway, expressed her view that Family Law Article § 5-3A-29 permits same-sex couples to adopt children.
Conaway is the case upholding the ban on same-sex marriage. The code portion cited is that which says that any adult may petition to adopt a child. No appeals court in Maryland has ruled on whether two same-sex partners can adopt a child together. One argument for permitting it is the usual statutory construction rule that the singular means the plural. Trial judges have been granting joint and second-parent adoptions for maybe 15 years, but without a definitive ruling from an appeals court there was always the possibility that some appeals court, in some context, would say that the Maryland statute does not allow it. There was absolutely no need for the court in this case to even mention same-sex couples adopting children. So I take this mention by the judge who ruled against same-sex marriage of something written in the same-sex marriage opinion by a judge who wanted to rule in favor of same-sex marriage as a sign that he and his colleagues think adoption by same-sex couples is indeed permitted. Yippee!!!!