Gay marriages take place in Maryland for first time

Gay marriages take place in Maryland for first time

(Jan. 4, 2013) Two gay couples have applied for marriage licenses at the courthouse in Snow Hill, and at least one of the couples had planned to marry there on Wednesday.

One couple lives in Ocean Pines; the other lives in Selbyville, Del., where same-sex marriages are not legal.

Gay marriages were legal in Maryland as of Tuesday, Jan. 1, but because the courthouse was closed that day, Wednesday was the first day marriages could take place there. Marriages could be performed in churches and elsewhere on Tuesday.

Maryland voters approved a referendum during November’s election legalizing same-sex marriages, but not overwhelmingly. Fifty-two percent of the votes were in favor.

The House of Delegates had passed a bill in February 2012 approving of gay marriage, and Gov. Martin O’Malley signed it into law the next month, but opponents gathered enough signatures to take the issue to referendum.

The law provides exemptions for religious organizations that do not want to marry same-sex couples.

Same-sex marriages are now legal in nine states plus the District of Columbia. Other states where it is legal are Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont and Washington.

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