Shank supports gay marriage ban

March 05, 2004|by LAURA ERNDE

A Washington County lawmaker said Thursday the Maryland General Assembly should ban gay marriage this year to keep the issue from being decided by the courts.

Del. Christopher B. Shank, R-Washington, said couples who recently were married in San Francisco could seek recognition in Maryland, touching off a legal battle that would end at the Maryland Court of Appeals, he said.

"What we're seeing in other states is very troubling and it exposes a weakness in Maryland law," he said. "We are the public policymakers of this state and for that reason I think it's important we act this session."


Shank is a member of the House Judiciary Committee, which is reviewing gay marriage legislation and could vote on the issue as soon as today.

Shank said he supports a gay marriage ban because of his fundamental belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman.

"It's a spiritual and religious issue. Marriage predates the church and it's something that should not be trifled with," he said.

Shank said he supports legislation to clarify that Maryland won't recognize gay marriages performed elsewhere.

He also supports a state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, which would have to be approved by voters.

"Clearly there is a very deep cultural divide in the country and in Maryland on this issue," he said.

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