ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley on Thursday morning signed a proclamation affirming that voters had approved a marriage equality ballot question last month, and by the stroke of his pen, gave the green light to marriage officials to begin issuing marriage applications to same-sex couples.
With hugs and happy tears warming a normally bureaucratic transaction, gay and lesbian couples flocked to courthouses to apply for their marriage licenses today, reported The Baltimore Sun.
"I started tearing up when I saw the marriage license," Alli Harper, 34, said of the document that she and Jennifer Monti, 32, received shortly after the Clarence M. Mitchell Jr. Courthouse opened at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday. "All of a sudden, it's right there in front of you."
Last week, Attorney General Doug Gansler issued an opinion that the law would allow county and city courts to take applications for licenses as of today, with the provision that couples could not actually become legally married until the law takes effect January 1.
Many courthouses are expected to be open Jan. 1 — normally a holiday — for couples who want to marry on the first day possible.
Just after midnight, officials in Washington state began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, becoming the first of three states to do so after voters approved marriage equality measures on Nov. 6. Gay couples in Washington state who receive licenses today can marry beginning Sunday, following the state's mandatory three-day waiting period.
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