Ten Maine cities or towns opened on Saturday to inaugurate the state's gay marriage law.

In all, 44 gay couples obtained marriage licenses. Some communities opened at midnight to welcome the start of the law.

In Portland, Maine's largest city, Steve Bridges, 42, and Michael Snell, 53, were the first to exchange vows. The couple's wedding party included Snell's two daughters.

About 300 people cheered loudly as the newlyweds exited City Hall and embraced.

The scene repeated itself as each of 15 couples emerged. The weddings of six couples were officiated by city clerks or notaries, while 9 decided to hold separate ceremonies. Licenses expire in 90 days.

On November 6, Maine became the first state to legalize marriage equality at the ballot box. The win was especially poignant because voters in 2009 had repealed a marriage law approved by lawmakers.

While opposition remains, there were few reported instances of protests. Two men demonstrated outside Portland City Hall. One of the men told reporters that the weddings were “wickedness” and that “they are bringing judgment upon Maine and the nation.”