Same-Sex Marriage Laws in Maryland | Adultery and Divorce | Family Law Attorneys in MD | Andalman & Flynn Law Firm
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Is Adultery Grounds for Divorce in Gay or Lesbian Marriages?

Jun 23, 2014 | Divorce Law, Family Law

Section 7-103 of the Family Law Article of the Maryland Code sets forth six “fault-based” grounds for an absolute divorce:

  • Adultery
  • Desertion
  • Cruelty of treatment
  • Insanity
  • Incarceration
  • Excessively vicious conduct

Traditionally, as most of us know, adultery is an act of voluntary sexual intercourse between a spouse and an individual other than their spouse.

However, the Maryland Code does not define “sexual intercourse” in terms of family law cases. The portion of the Maryland Code that pertains to criminal matters defines “intercourse” in such a way that oral sex, anal sex, and other sexual acts are not intercourse. Maryland courts have held that non-intercourse acts are insufficient to be considered adultery for purposes of establishing grounds for divorce.

This vagueness in the law became even more problematic when Maryland legalized same-sex marriage in 2013. Certainly a gay or lesbian spouse whose wife or husband has sexual contact with another individual should be availed of the same right to file a Complaint for Divorce on the grounds of adultery, should they not?

If the goal is equal treatment under the law, gay and lesbian couples should be subject to the responsibilities of marriage now that their right to marriage has been officially recognized by our state. Public policy and principles of equality require that adultery laws be applied to all married individuals in Maryland, regardless of his or her sexual orientation.

Dedicated Legal Representation for Same-Sex Couples in Maryland

If you’re seeking legal representation for a matter involving same-sex marriage, including adultery and divorce, please contact me directly at (301) 563-6685.


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