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Gay married MD state employees to get equal benefits

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Same-sex spouses of Maryland state employees will now be eligible for the same benefits that opposite-sex spouses get.

In February, Attorney General Doug Gansler issued a legal opinion saying under state law, Maryland should recognize gay marriages performed out of state. On Wednesday, state officials opened up the benefits program for state workers with legally married same-sex spouses.

Morgan Meneses-Sheets is Executive Director of Equality Maryland. She says the policy change will do more than just provide benefits.

Menesses-Sheets: “It’s not just the policy implications that come out of something like this – but it’s the larger statement that as a state, the law provides the ability to honor these licenses, and they should be honored.”

She says the policy is another step towards full equality for all Marylanders. But antigay state lawmaker Don Dwyer – who tried to impeach the Attorney General – says he’s now considering a lawsuit to prevent the state from giving benefits to gay couples.

Mennesses-Sheets says Dwyer’s not the only one on the attack.

Menesses-Sheets: “Delegate Dwyer has a lot to say about our community. Well our community has a lot to say to Delegate Dwyer this year. And we will be working hard in his district and in his area to ensure that pro-equality people go out and vote in November, so that he is no longer there taking a stand against our community every day that he serves in the legislature.”

She says with gay marriage legalized next door in Washington DC, attitudes in the state are changing. A recent poll showed registered voters in Maryland now narrowly support allowing same-sex marriage, a shift from a similar poll just three years ago.

–Aaron McQuade

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Written by OutQ News staff

May 20, 2010 at 9:41 AM

Posted in Marriage

Tagged with ,

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