Three Minnesota counties will begin issuing marriage license applications to gay and lesbian couples next week, nearly two months before a law legalizing marriage equality takes effect in the state.

Hennepin, Washington and Ramsey counties will begin issuing marriage license applications to gay couples for the first time on Thursday, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported.

“We will be able and ready to accept applications a week from today,” Mark Chapin, registrar and director of taxpayer services for Hennepin County, told the paper on Thursday. “We're opening up the process now so the paperwork can be handled in a very orderly fashion.”

The move comes after Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman issued an opinion on whether gay couples could apply for a license before the law takes effect on August 1. Freeman's opinion stated that couples would be able to apply for and receive a marriage license that will be valid on August 1.

Hennepin County includes Minneapolis, the state's largest city, while Ramsey County includes Saint Paul, the state's second largest city.

Officials in Washington and Ramsey counties said that they would begin taking applications on Thursday but no licenses would be issued before 8AM on August 1. That could mean a wait for couples in those counties due to a five-day waiting period. Officials said they were discussing alternatives.

Democratic Governor Mark Dayton signed the marriage law during a ceremony on the front steps of the Capitol earlier this month.