Maryland may begin issuing marriage licenses to gay couples as early as next week.

In a 19-page opinion released Thursday, state Attorney General Doug Gansler concluded that clerks of court may begin issuing such licenses before the law takes effect on January 1 so long as they are postdated, the AP reported.

Opponents of gay marriage mounted a ballot initiative to repeal a marriage law approved by lawmakers earlier this year. Gansler vocally supported passage of the law, as did Governor Martin O'Malley, who signed the bill into law. Voters on November 6 upheld the law, allowing it to take effect on January 1.

Gansler said clerks may being issuing marriage licenses on December 6, after the election results have been certified. He added that clerks could choose to wait until January 2.

A similar marriage law approved by voters in Washington state will take effect on December 6.

(Related: Seattle City Hall to open Sunday, December 9 for first gay weddings.)