Maryland on Thursday began issuing
marriage licenses to gay couples, more than three weeks before a law
legalizing marriage equality in the state is set to take effect.
Earlier in the day, Governor Martin
O'Malley certified results of a ballot measure, known as Question 6,
which upheld a gay marriage law approved by lawmakers.
State Attorney General Doug Gansler
concluded in a 19-page opinion that clerks of court may begin issuing
such licenses before the law takes effect on January 1 so long as
they are postdated. He added that clerks could choose to wait until
A similar marriage law approved by
voters in Washington state took effect on Thursday and clerks began
issuing marriage licenses. In King County, which includes Seattle,
offices opened at 12:01AM and within
3 hours the county announced it had broken its record for most
marriage licenses issued in a day.
Washington's three-day waiting period
means the state's first weddings won't begin until Sunday. Seattle
City Hall will open for 5 hours on Sunday to begin celebrating what
are expected to be the state's first gay weddings.