Port v. CowanAnnotate this Case
Appellant and Appellee were two women validly married in California. The parties later agreed to separate, and Appellant filed a divorce complaint in Maryland. The circuit court denied the requested relief, explaining in its written order that the marriage was not valid pursuant to Maryland law and was contrary to the public policy of Maryland. The parties filed timely appeals. The Supreme Court noted that, under the principles of comity applied in the State, Maryland courts will withhold recognition of a valid foreign marriage only if that marriage is "repugnant" to State public policy. The Court reversed the circuit court, holding (1) no viable decision by the Court had deemed a valid foreign marriage to be "repugnant," despite being void or punishable as a misdemeanor or more serious crime were it performed in Maryland; and (2) therefore, a valid out-of-state same-sex marriage should be treated by Maryland courts as worthy of divorce, according to the applicable statutes, reported cases, and court rules of the State. Remanded with direction to grant a final divorce to the parties.