Now it's up to voters to further advance the cause of civil rights and approve same-sex marriage — potentially becoming the first state in the nation to do so at the ballot box. I have also concluded that treating the children of families headed by same-sex couples with lesser protections under the law than the children of families headed by heterosexual parents, is also unjust. The ruling was a major blow to advocates of same-sex marriage, who had prevailed in the lower court in early Lisa Kebreau, 39, and her partner, Mikki Mozelle, 31, who live in Riverdale, have three children - ages 17, 2 and 20 months. Brooke Murdock in January struck down the law defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman, but the state immediately appealed. But many lawyers believe that civil unions or domestic partnerships — which are recognized in New Jersey, California, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire and Oregon — are the wave of the immediate future. Banning same-sex marriage denies certain legal benefits to couples and their children in matters ranging from health insurance, property rights, custody and inheritance that are patently unfair and clearly not in the broader public interest. Cowan[ edit ] Recognition of same-sex marriages from other states became precedent when the Court of Appeals agreed to hear a case from Prince George's County , where two women who were legally married in California had been denied a divorce by the circuit court. Plaintiffs in the lawsuit were quick to condemn the ruling. Massachusetts is the only state where gay marriage is legal, but nine other states have approved spousal rights in some form for same-sex couples - California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont and Washington. Legislators on both sides of the debate predicted action on the issue in the next session. A divided Court of Appeals ruled that Maryland's ban on gay marriage does not discriminate on the basis of gender and does not deny any fundamental rights, and that the state has a legitimate interest in promoting opposite-sex marriage. Nine same-sex couples and a gay man whose partner died filed the lawsuit in against court clerks who denied their applications for marriage licenses.