California officials say a couple who married in Maryland’s Capitol City last year and received a divorce were both ineligible to obtain a marriage license in their new home.
Maryland’s Office of Vital Records says in a statement that the two are not eligible because they “are not living in Maryland, are not married in California, and have not yet entered into a valid marriage contract.”
“Maryland is a jurisdiction that allows same-sex couples to marry.
But the Maryland Secretary of State has determined that this marriage is not valid in Maryland,” a spokesperson said.
Elton John and his wife, Samantha, married in Hawaii in 2016, and the couple later moved to Maryland, where they married in March.
Both have since obtained divorces, but they are now seeking a new marriage license to obtain their former home.
In an interview with BuzzFeed News, Elton John said he was unaware the marriage was not legal in Maryland until he got a letter from the Office of the Maryland Attorney General, which said the couple’s divorce was valid, but had no jurisdiction to issue the marriage license.
“I thought I was just a normal American, but I’m not, because I’m a member of the LDS church,” Elton said.
“So I was shocked, and I thought, ‘Oh my God, there’s something wrong here.'”
The couple filed for a divorce in August 2017, and on Monday the office said it issued a marriage certificate for Samantha.
Elson’s attorney, Kevin O’Malley, told BuzzFeed News the couple was granted a temporary license to reside in Maryland because Samantha had a valid Maryland marriage license, and because Elton had filed a petition for a writ of divorce.
“They’ve got a lot of other things that they have to go through, but that’s their business,” O’Mara said.
He said Samantha had never been to Maryland before, and they had not filed any paperwork in their former marriage, which would normally be required.
O’Maley said he believes the couple is eligible to get a marriage licence in Maryland due to the way the state’s marriage laws are written.
“Marylanders are very progressive, and there is nothing wrong with that, but if they were to have a valid divorce, they’d be eligible to marry, and that’s what this office is saying,” he said.