Md. Court Considering Same-Sex Spousal Privilege

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) — A judge in Hagerstown says he’ll consider whether a woman who legally married her lesbian partner in another jurisdiction can refuse to testify against her in Maryland, which doesn’t allow same-sex marriage.

Sharron Saleem Snowden, 38, invoked the spousal privilege in Washington County Circuit Court Monday at the outset of Deborah “Toney” Snowden’s assault trial. They were married Aug. 11 in the District of Columbia.

Prosecutors want the court to compel Sharron to testify about her statement to police that Toney pushed her and threatened her with a knife.

Toney’s public defender cites a 2010 Maryland attorney general’s opinion that out-of-state, same-sex marriages may be recognized under Maryland law.

Judge Donald Beachley says he’ll schedule oral arguments after studying the matter in the next 30 days.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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