Published Date Written by Staff Report
Maine law recognizes out-of-state marriages that are validly licensed and certified and are otherwise legal in Maine, including same-sex marriages performed recently in Utah, Maine Attorney General Janet T. Mills announced Monday.
The declaration had been sought by the Human Rights Campaign, describing itself as the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization. That group had called on Mills to extend full statewide marriage recognition to the more than 1,300 gay and lesbian couples who entered into marriages in Utah.
The group noted that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder had announced that full federal recognition would extend to these unions in Utah. The HRC called on all states that recognize marriage equality to join Washington and Maryland in recognizing the marriages of these couples.
"The U.S. government has made it clear the 1,360 Utah couples who married after a federal judge said they could, are indeed married and they should be afforded every right and responsibility of marriage," said HRC President Chad Griffin.
According to the AG's office, based on a 2012 citizen referendum, the state of Maine recognizes same-sex marriages performed within Maine as well as same-sex marriages legally performed in other jurisdictions. Because, in the state of Utah, same-sex marriages were briefly allowed, as many as 1,360 couples were married between Dec. 20, 2013 when a federal judge struck down a Utah ban on same-sex marriages and Jan. 6, when the U.S. Supreme Court enjoined further marriages pending an appeal, the AG's office noted, citing published reports.
"Maine statute is clear that any marriage that was performed legally in another state and that would otherwise be legal in Maine will be given full faith and credit under Maine law," said Attorney General Mills. "Assuming these marriages in Utah also comply with Maine law, they will be recognized here. Moreover, this issue raises the notion that some Americans are not being treated equally and are being denied the right to marry the person they love. I hope that the Supreme Court will use this opportunity to right this wrong in Utah, as they have elsewhere."
The statement from Attorney General Mills was prompted by an inquiry from newspaper reporters and from national advocacy groups involved in marriage equality issues, according to an AG's office press release.