Maryland is a great state to live in—it’s near Washington, D.C. and within driving distance of New York City, Philadelphia, and other major East Coast metro areas. The state capital of Baltimore is home to a large number of people itself, and the state’s economy is so good that it has the lowest poverty rate in the U.S. Much of this has to do with the fact that many work in Washington, D.C. or in the satellite government offices and other installations in the state.
Maryland also has a number of protections for its LGBT citizens. The state’s supreme court overturned the laws that made consensual sexual activities between two adults in 1998 and 1999 While this was only a few years before Lawrence v. Texas invalidated those laws nationwide, the people of Maryland did at least see that these laws were unconstitutional.
While the state was on the late side in dealing with sexual activity, they were unfortunately on the early side in banning same-sex marriage. State legislators actually amended their Family Law statutes in 1972 to prohibit marriage between same-sex individuals.
In 2013, that changed. The previous year, a same-sex marriage bill was introduced and later approved by both the House and the Senate. It was then approved by the voters and, on January 1, 2013, same-sex couples began marrying in the state. Maryland became the first state where gay marriage was approved by the voters rather than by court order. Prior to that, the state did have domestic partnerships starting in 2008, but they were somewhat limited.
In 2015, the General Assembly approved a law that required all health insurers to provide fertility treatments in their general health benefits package regardless of the orientation of the person undergoing the treatment. While the state’s governor refused to sign the bill, he did not veto it, making it law.
Anyone in Maryland can adopt children, and the law specifically states that same-sex couples are to be treated the same as any other co-parents.
Since 2001, state law has banned discrimination based on orientation, and that law was extended to include gender identity in 2014. Prior to statewide protection, two cities and three counties had passed their own anti-discrimination laws.
The state’s hate crime laws protect individuals based on both orientation and gender identity.
Finally, those who are transitioning from one gender to the other can change the gender on their birth certificate without the need to first have gender reassignment surgery. Like the fertility benefits law, the governor neither signed nor vetoed this bill.