On March 1, 2012, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley signed into law a bill that legalizes gay marriage.

Like New York’s law and, more recently, Hawaii’s, Maryland’s bill does not create domestic partnerships or civil unions.  Instead, the law modifies the definition of civil marriage so that a marriage is not defined as only occurring between a man and a woman.


The law does not become effective until October 1, 2012.  Prior to the effective date, Maryland employers should insure that any necessary policies, such as bereavement policies and personal leave to care for a spouse, are either broad enough to cover same-sex spouses or are accordingly modified.