Gay marriage laws in Maine and Maryland
begin in less than a week.
In both states, voters decided the
Maryland lawmakers approved a marriage
equality bill and Democratic Governor Martin O'Malley signed it into
law earlier this year. However, opponents mounted a ballot
initiative to repeal it. Voters on November 6 decided to let the law
take effect on January 1.
Some Maryland clerks began issuing
marriage licenses to gay couples on December 6, the day election
results were certified.
Supporters in Maine returned to the
ballot box this year after opponents repealed a marriage equality law
approved by lawmakers in 2009, making Maine the first state to
legalize gay nuptials through a citizen initiative.
The law takes effect on Saturday,
December 29. The first weddings appear likely to take place in
Portland, the state's largest city, which is scheduled to open City
Hall at midnight to inaugurate the marriage law.
Without a waiting period to delay vows,
couples will marry soon after receiving their licenses.
The marriages will take place nearly
three weeks after Washington state's gay marriage law took effect.