Baltimore mayoral aide Jim Scales and his partner Bill Taskers will be the first couple to marry in Baltimore as Maryland's gay marriage law takes effect on January 1. The men have been together 35 years.

While Baltimore's courthouse will remain closed for New Year's Day, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is opening City Hall at 12:30AM to host the weddings of seven couples.

Maryland 's law is the third and last to take effect after winning voter approval in November. Couples began marrying in Washington state on December 9 and in Maine on Saturday.

Clerks began issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples after Governor Martin O'Malley certified election results nearly three weeks ago, but none become effective until the new year.

“New Years Day will have a new meaning for the hundreds – if not thousands – of couples who will finally have the right to marry the person they love,” Mayor Rawlings-Blake told WBAL.

“It is a remarkable achievement for Maryland. And we are excited to open City Hall to host some of the first wedding ceremonies in our great state. Newly married couples will stand before their friends to profess their love and commitment to each other. This is what we worked for. And I am looking forward to take part in this historic and jubilant day.”