Md. Same-Sex Couples Prepare To Legally Wed In January

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — An opinion from Maryland’s Attorney General could make it a very happy New Year for some same-sex couples. Starting later this week, they can apply for a marriage license so that they can be married on Jan. 1 instead of Jan. 4.

Derek Valcourt explains this is great news for some same-sex couples already thrilled over their Election Day victory.

Jan. 1 may seem soon to plan a wedding but some couples say they’re just glad that they now have that option.

At Glyph Art and Design in Havre de Grace, they’re in the business of wedding invitations–and they’re no longer calling meetings with clients “bridal consultations.” Instead, they’re “wedding consultations” now.

It’s a minor change to accommodate what could soon be a big business as thousands of gay and lesbian couples prepare to say “I do” in Maryland after voters approved same-sex marriage.

It’s an election night Joe Smith and his partner of 24 years, Don Starr, will never forget.

“And we sort of looked at each other and held hands and said, `Will you marry me?’ simultaneously,” said Smith.

And now, thanks to a legal opinion from Maryland’s Attorney General Doug Gansler, same-sex couples can start applying for their marriage licenses with county court clerks as early as Thursday instead of Jan. 2, when courts reopen after the law takes effect.

“There’s been really an onslaught of people that are interested in getting these licenses. People have been denied the right to get married their entire life and they are anxious to get started. Some people would like to actually get married on Jan. 1, start the new year, start the new life, and are very excited about it,” said Attorney General Doug Gansler.

“Why not January first? It’s a great holiday. Friends and family are getting together to celebrate anyway and so why not have the opportunity to do so? The challenge for same-sex couples, I think, is we are only talking a few weeks away. That’s a short period of time to get a wedding organized,” said Smith.

Gansler’s opinion left it up to the clerks of court in each county to decide on their own whether they would begin issuing licenses to couples this week.

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