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especially poignant because voters in 2009 had repealed a marriage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.”