.

Same-Sex Couple Follows Lawyer's Advice, Plans Marriage

Thursday is the first day Maryland's circuit courts could start issuing same-sex marriage licenses.

Timonium residents Bruce Eicher and Jorge Gaitan went to Baltimore County Circuit Court Thursday afternoon to get a marriage license—at the advice of their lawyer.

"He said it was safer. If one of us died, we want to make sure the other is taken care of," said Eicher, who is 80 years old.

Thursday marked the first day same-sex couples in Maryland could obtain a marriage license, but Baltimore County's gay and lesbian residents didn't appear to be in a huge rush late in the day.

An employee at the licensing department in circuit court declined to comment on the number of same-sex couples who had sought licenses on Thursday. 

Eicher and Gaitan, a 67-year-old native of Colombia, were one of a few couples to obtain a marriage license at the Baltimore County Circuit Court in the afternoon. Eicher called the occasion "anti-climatic."

"We had a civil ceremony 10 years ago in Vermont," he said. "We had all the fun and excitement then."

In a news release, Governor Martin O'Malley shared that he had signed a proclamation Thursday morning enabling Maryland courthouses to issue the licenses. The signature comes about a month after the 2012 elections, where Marylanders voted to approve same-sex marriage on referendum. 

The same-sex marriage law goes into effect Jan. 1.

Eicher and Gaitan are pleased by the steps the state took to legalize same-sex marriage.

"I'm a very patient person," Eicher said of the wait before he could legalize his relationship with Gaitan. "But I'm very happy [same-sex marriage] passed referendum. I wouldn't be surprised if the rest of the country started legalizing it soon as well."

Wedding plans are up in the air for the couple, but they do intend to have a small gathering with close friends.

"I feel happy," Gaitan said. "We're making plans to have a nice vacation to Florida in March."

Chillin December 07, 2012 at 07:01 PM
I agree that a person should be able to assign someone of his/ her choice to make these life decisions and have it documented with authorities. Didn't Maryland law allow such an agreement between these two men even without a marriage certificate?
M. Sullivan December 07, 2012 at 07:29 PM
Ah, name calling. Always the inciteful response of the likes of FIFA? Or is that FIFI?
Voice of Reason December 08, 2012 at 12:30 AM
Hey Evets, when I want your opinion, I'll letcha know. K? Thanks, bud.
Buck Harmon December 08, 2012 at 12:39 AM
To each...their own.
Evets December 08, 2012 at 12:43 AM
Or they could just get married and they would have it covered.
Voice of Reason December 08, 2012 at 12:50 AM
You're a real class act, Evets. Now let me guess why you chivalrously came to Sullivan's rescue. You're a homophobe, huh? Big Jesus freak are ya?
Evets December 08, 2012 at 01:25 AM
For that matter, why do they need to cite some major change in their lives just to justify their desire to be legally married? Shouldn't the desire to be married be reason enough? Not much changed in my life when I got married, but it certainly was a joyful day to know that I was pledging to spend my life with my wife.
Voice of Reason December 08, 2012 at 02:21 AM
Well at least you came down on the right side on that issue. Phew! I was starting to think we couldn't be friends anymore.
RARE MARYLAND INDEPENDENT December 08, 2012 at 02:55 AM
Not happy about the vote about gay marriage - but it is the law. If it is important to them to do it now, more power to them. The guy is 80 years old, if it makes him happy, good for him! The folks have spoken. The battle is over and attacking these folks would make the right look stupid.
Chillin December 08, 2012 at 03:03 AM
I’m figuring by now that the two married men in this article are not going to answer my earlier question, so I’ll ask any recently married or soon-to-be married homosexual couple in Maryand what the new law has done to significantly change their lives from what it was this time last year? Looking for an answer not an argument.
circadia December 08, 2012 at 05:02 AM
Chillin, if they already live together, nothing will change in their lives as far as their relationship goes, but they'll get the legal benefits of being spouses in a civil marriage (inheritance, medical decisions, etc). The marriage law was just about allowing homosexual couples to acquire the same legal status that heterosexual couples can acquire.
circadia December 08, 2012 at 05:11 AM
To "Rare Maryland Independent" - You seem to be implying that everyone on the left voted for the marriage law and everyone on the right voted against it. Wrong on both counts.
Chillin December 09, 2012 at 06:58 PM
circadia, These legal benefits you speak of make sense to me (inheritance and decision making), but what about Social Security survivor benefits? I believe that this issue has been about monetary gain more than inheritance problems and proclamation of love. I find it funny that there are so many homosexual couples desiring to get married and conversely that there is a big growing trend for heterosexual couples cohabitating and having children together with no desire to get married at all. Not judging, just observing. BTW, I think MD should simply stop recognizing any marriages and simply leave it to the churches. Marriage laws were easily defined when the traditional arrangement was the only one, but with the multitude of living arrangements coupled with modern (pre-1930’s) amenities like employer health insurance, Social Security, divorce, etc., marriage law has become obsolete.
circadia December 10, 2012 at 06:20 PM
Chillin, I agree with all that. Marriage should be a private thing and the state should only have civil partnerships to cover the legal aspects of what we currently call "marriage". Then marriage could be whatever anyone wants it to be and no one would have to accept anyone else's definition of it. I think that would solve a lot of the disagreements people have had about homosexual marriage and would head off future disagreements I expect about polygamy.
tack8 December 10, 2012 at 06:37 PM
Chillin, There are NO Social Security Survivor benefits because the FEDERAL government does not recognize same sex marriage..... yet. :) I will be married to my partner soon and it is comforting to know that botn of our rights are protected by the law now, at least in Maryland.
Jennifer Tanko December 11, 2012 at 07:02 PM
Not cool. Posting a ridiculously offensive statement and then whining about everyone getting 'touchy' for reacting to your words...? You posted the bigoted words, you're just going to have to deal with the reactions you get for comments like that. I don't buy the surprised act you're putting on at all.
circadia December 11, 2012 at 07:47 PM
Well now I feel the need to defend M. Sullivan because it's NOT "ridiculously offensive" nor "bigoted" to make a joke about wedding dresses when two dudes get married. Nor would it be offensive or bigoted to make a joke about tuxedos when two chicks get married. Or asking who takes whose name. Marriage has always been BRIDE and GROOM. Now that we're mixing things up—shuffling what has always been the cultural norm, it's perfectly okay for prodding, joking, making fun to come along with such a drastic change to tradition. Lighten up.
Chillin December 11, 2012 at 08:57 PM
tack8, Since you are entering into a same-sex marriage you probably know more about this recent law than I do, so I will ask you...what exact protections and rights will yours and your partner's marriage certificate/ license ensure? Do you have the ability to designate your partner to be your Power of Attorney as of now (pre-marriage)? Do you two have the ability to make each other the sole heir of your possessions upon death as of now (again, pre-marriage) (assuming you both have no natural or adopted children from beforehand)? I thought that some pre-planning with a lawyer to enter a civil union could have covered all bases when same-sex partners were looking for assurances in such matters. Many questions abound?
Chillin December 12, 2012 at 04:33 PM
I haven't heard any real answers yet. This enforces my believe that a lot of the gay community has also pushed for this legislation in an effort to gain approval of their lifestyle from the folks that don't approve of it. I believe that most homosexuals have been met with opposition throughout their life and they have slowly gained acceptance from their family, friends, and peers and their push for this legislation was the final frontier for them. I also think that most people have accepted that homosexuality is a lifestyle, whether chosen or inherited, that has to be accepted or at least tolerated and have taken a' live and let live' attitude toward it. Oh well, the people have voted and the answer was clear. Hopefully, someone in the legislature will be wise enough next year to legislate the antiquated institution from the law books, opposite sex and same sex alike, so that single men like me stop getting discriminated against for not being married. I'm tired of being denied tax benefits simply for having never gotten married. Does this new law allow a same sex couples to adopt, while I as a single man am denied that opportunity?
Jennifer Tanko December 12, 2012 at 07:46 PM
Actually, it is. Maybe not to a straight person that doesn't have to constantly defend their gender identity, but it perpetuates this stereotype that gay and lesbian people aren't 'real' men or women and that someone has to be 'the man/woman' in the relationship. Even many straight relationships consist of a more equitable tone (I know mine does). It may seem like a harmless joke to someone who isn't affected by these harmful and often cruel stereotypes, but to people who are it's just not funny. These are real people we're talking about here that are put in the ridiculous position of having to convince the majority that their rights are valid too. I'm a fan of humor and political jokes, but this kind of 'humor' isn't about parodying something or making a point, it's about tearing other people and their relationships down. Enough.
Julie December 12, 2012 at 08:07 PM
Chillin, for gay and lesbian couples who can now obtain marriage licenses, little will likely change in their relationships, as many have been living as though they were legally married for years. But the fact that they are now able to truly be legally married means that they can make important decisions on behalf of their partner (say, if one is in a terrible accident and the decision needs to be made whether or not to continue life support, there would be no question as to whether or not the partner could make that decision) and receive the tax benefits of being a married couple. It also acknowledges their relationship as just as valid as every other marriage out there, which probably means more to gay and lesbian couples than any of us who never had to question whether or not the state would recognize our relationship can understand.
Julie December 12, 2012 at 08:11 PM
Oops, I see that Jenn answered similarly to how I did, sorry for posting a duplicate comment, Chillin. And yes, any person can designate any other person (regardless of relationship) as the one to make decisions in such cases, but often, people who are involved in tragic accidents have not created such documents, because nobody hopes that they will have to use them. The marriage license means that even if that documentation doesn't exist prior to such an event, the partner is still able to make such decisions.
Julie December 12, 2012 at 08:17 PM
Chillin, I promise that I am not trolling your comments, I just hadn't caught up on this article until now! You ask good questions, though I don't know the answers to all of them, and I believe we might be on opposite sides of the issue -- but I've appreciated your lack of name-calling or generalizations. I also hear your pain at being discriminated against for being single (which I totally understand). There are many agencies that approve single-parent adoption, and I hope that if you truly do want to adopt (and were not just using it as an example), you will do some research so that you can provide a loving home for a child in need. I'd encourage you to look at Diakon Adoption & Foster Care as an option -- they are an excellent service, and they even mention on their website that they offer single-parent adoption.
Buck Harmon December 13, 2012 at 12:57 AM
The world is,,in fact..a vampire....there will be no answers..we must just deal with it.. individually.
Caring Citizen December 13, 2012 at 02:51 AM
To Chillin: The information is readily available on the internet. Just try googling something along the lines of benefits of marriage in maryland. One that just popped to mind was being able to name your spouse on your work insurance policy. Sure some companies do offer domestic partner benefits, but this will apply to every person in Maryland, gay or straight. Many of the things you have mentioned are available to same sex couples, but to get them, you would have to pay a lawyer to draw up the paperwork - for each benefit. Being able to marry your partner grants you these rights automatically, and for a lot less money than you'd have to pay a lawyer. I attended a talk on same-sex marriage a bunch of years ago, and it seems to me that the lawyer giving the talk mentioned something like 80+ benefits that come automatically with marriage - for a same sex couple to get them, they'd have to go through various steps and agencies and lawyers and money to get them. (Gee, I wonder why lawyers haven't fought this new law - it's going to deprive them of lots of income). Disclaimer: I have known Bruce professionally for well over 30 years, and I'm delighted that he is finally able to find the happiness and security that marriage will allow him. (It's too late for me, my partner died 2 years ago.)
Chillin December 14, 2012 at 01:33 AM
To Caring Citizen: I took your suggestion and researched some of my own questions and did learn lot. I read among other documents, a study from the League of Women Voters that was quite unbiased. It went on to say many of the things you mentioned-basically that two unmarried people could obtain joint protections and rights that a married (opposite sex )couple can obtain, but the two unmarried people would have to go through some pretty complicated and expensive paperwork, whereas the married couple is automatically granted these protections. I chuckled when they went on to warn of the burdens/ pitfalls of marriage too. The law has passed and so be it, but as the battle will continue at the Federal level no doubt, I think a better way to approach the dilemma is to legislate marriage out of the government. Here’s why: The word marriage has had the same basic definition in western cultures for thousands of years, and I use this culture in my reasoning because we here in the USA are an extension of this culture that has traditionally used the Bible as our reference for law and society norms ( I’m not going Bible on you). Marriage was understood by 99.9% of citizens to be between one man and one women and that they would them create as many children as possible until death do they part. No other choices afforded, no divorce, no adultery. Hell, being unmarried was thought of as being a major sin, if not close to being illegal 200 years ago.
Chillin December 14, 2012 at 01:35 AM
Contd. Some married people have degraded marriage so far from that definition, that it barely resembles the original intentions. Today over half of marriages end in divorce. Children are abandoned regularly. Adultery runs rampant. Many men have children with several women and visa-versa. Many children are born to unwed mothers. Just about all these situations were illegal in the original States. Legislators have had to change marriage laws many times to accommodate the ever-changing relationships. What we call a marriage today has morphed tremendously from what it was understood to be even as late as 100 years ago. I compare a marriage to a cell phone. We still refer to these gadgets in are pockets as cell phones, yet they have morphed so much that the phone part is the least used feature. Rather than continuously redefine marriage laws, legislators should dissolve all marriage laws and simply document each citizens children, inheritor, property, and power of attorney. This way no one is discriminated against, not even polygamists. Leave marriages in the church only, including multi-person marriages.
A. Brown December 14, 2012 at 05:53 PM
I think there is a difference between the rite of marriage (religious) and the right of marriage (legal). The church has defined "traditional" marriage as one man and one woman, but in the US, legal marriage has also been defined as whites only, blacks with permission of slave owner, also where the wife is little more than physical property, then finally interracial marriage was legalized, and rape within a marriage was also legal, etc. ad nauseum... Ultimately, if you're an American citizen that should come with the right to marry another consenting adult if they want to (the legal version). Now, whether or not a church that believes differently should be asked to marry a couple that is against the teachings of their faith (the rite) should be left to them.
Chillin December 16, 2012 at 02:56 AM
My point exactly. The government has screwed up the definition of marriage so many times through revisions and they are still trying to redefine it. ‘Religious marriage’ and ‘legal marriage’ have become two different species , whereas they were considered one in the same at one time. The state’s rules on marriage mimicked most church’s rules. Rather than having these two different species of marriage called ‘marriage’ , let people involved in a ‘religious marriage’ call it such and the government’s version should be called ‘declaration of a designee’ or some similar legal term.
Rachel Zane February 05, 2014 at 01:03 PM
Thanks for the post. It is interesting to hear how the changes in the law throughout the country are affecting the communities. It sounds like Maryland has embraced the new law. Rachel Zane | http://www.employeelawyerchicago.com/employment-discrimination/

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something