BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Maryland began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples Thursday.
Political reporter Pat Warren was at the Mitchell Courthouse on Thursday morning, where the first Baltimore licenses were issued.
Clerk of Courts Frank Conaway calls it an historic day as licenses are no longer limited to one man, one woman.
Jessie Weber and Nancy Eddy were among the first couples to apply for a license in Baltimore on Thursday morning.
The same-sex marriage movement in Maryland got its biggest boost from New York when Gov. Martin O’Malley took a page from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and sponsored same-sex marriage legislation.
“I believe that New York showed you could do those things to protect religious freedoms and you could also protect rights equally. That’s what we are going to do,” O’Malley said.
After the bill was passed and signed, it stalled until winning voter approval last month.
An attorney general ruling has licenses being issued now, so couples can marry the minute it becomes law January 1.
Joanne King is one of those soon-to-be newlyweds.
“It means the world to me,” King said. “Me and my girlfriend, we been together for 15 years, and she been on me about getting married. We goin get married New Year’s Eve.”
Conaway says he’ll do everything possible to accommodate the couples.
“Now we can’t marry people until January 1st, but I’m going to see that if the court wants to open on New Year’s Eve, I’ll be here at 12:01. If they want to get married, I’ll be happy to do it,” Conaway said.
We don’t know yet if any one intends to take the clerk up on that offer.
Couples who married in other states cannot marry in Maryland as long as their out-of-state license is valid.