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Baltimore County Family Law Attorney Blog

Baltimore & Towson Lawyer Discusses Infidelity In Same Sex Marriages

Written by Amar Weisman » August 31, 2015 »

According to a recent story in The Baltimore Sun, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh has written a legal opinion discussing whether infidelity in same-sex marriages qualifies as adultery for divorce purposes.

Unfortunately, many couples deal with the issue of infidelity and cheating regardless of their marital status. But for those who are married, the issue may spark thoughts of divorce and for those in same-sex marriages, the resolution may not be as clear as it is for a husband and wife -- at least not as currently defined.

Same-sex couples who are now allowed to marry often have questions and/or concerns about certain rights and legal options -- particularly as they relate to divorce. Contrary to what some may think, same-sex couples experience some of the same issues heterosexual couples experience -- including infidelity. The legal opinion makes it clear that marriage equality is just that -- marriage equality.

A Closer Look at the Attorney General's Opinion

The AG's opinion focuses on the definition of adultery under family law, as opposed to the criminal aspects of adultery. AG Frosh notes that the main purpose of the concept of adultery under Maryland law is "to recognize that sexual infidelity is a breach of the marriage vow and causes damage to the marriage, such that the injured party should be allowed to dissolve the marriage more easily than would otherwise be the case."

AG Frosh first considered the term "adultery," noting that it has not been defined by the General Assembly in either criminal or family law statutes. However, having reviewed relevant case law that dealt with the subject of adultery, the AG noted that the term cannot be defined as used in Maryland's divorce statute "based solely on the plain meaning of the term and must turn to the statute's purpose for additional guidance."

The AG concluded that when it comes to family law, the definition of adultery for Maryland courts will likely include more than just intercourse between a man and a woman. Instead, courts will include other types of sexual infidelity between both people of the opposite sex and those of the same sex.

Ultimately, the opinion notes that adultery will include a spouse's "extramarital sexual infidelity with a person of the same sex...We see no reason either to define adultery so narrowly as to ignore "the sexual realities of our world," or to deny same-sex couples the ability to divorce on the same terms as other married couples."

What This Means for Same-Sex Couples

The deputy director and managing attorney for FreeState Legal stated that Frosh's opinion affirms that Maryland "will equally recognize the dignity of marriages between same sex couples, which can equally be harmed by adultery."

Same-sex marriages have been legal since 2013 in the state, and the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in June of 2015 stated that all states are required to legally recognize marriages between individuals of the same sex. The AG's opinion also discussed the fact that the spouse filing for divorce does not have to provide proof of the "sexual act" that occurred, but rather that the spouse and his or her lover had the opportunity -- no details about the specific sexual acts are needed.

Call (410) 321-4994 For a Free Consultation With a Catonsville & Towson Family Law Litigation Firm.

Call The Law Offices of Amar S. Weisman at (410) 321-4994 to schedule a Free Consultation. The Purpose of the consultation is to determine whether you want to retain this law firm as your Baltimore County & Harford County Family Lawyer. If you do wish to proceed, then you must pay a retainer. See Our Policy on Fees and Costs. The family firm is located next to The Circuit Court for Baltimore County, at 1018 Dulaney Valley Road, Towson, MD 21204.