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Maine to start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples at midnight

Friday, December 28, 2012

In just hours, the city clerk’s office in Portland, Maine, will begin issuing the state’s first marriage licenses to same-sex couples, as Maine becomes the first state to legalize marriage equality by a popular vote of its citizens.

And elsewhere, at one minute after midnight, many town offices and city halls across the state — generally closed on Saturdays — will make a one-time exception to also begin issuing marriage licenses, and since there is no waiting period in Maine, couples around the state are gearing up for overnight wedding ceremonies.

And for many couples, tonight’s nuptials have been on hold for almost three years.

In 2009, Maine’s legislature passed a marriage equality law to give same-sex couples the right to marry, but in a state-wide ballot referendum that echoed California’s Proposition 8, nearly 53 percent of Maine citizens voted against same-sex marriage, reversing the legislative decision before the law took effect.

But three years later, and public opinion evolving nationally, marriage equality advocates collected signatures to put it on the ballot again, and this time it was easily approved.

And tonight, at midnight on Dec. 29, Maine becomes the eighth U.S. state to legalize same-sex marriage, and the first to do so through a ballot initiative brought by petition.

Two other states that legalized same-sex marriage on Nov. 6 — Washington state and Maryland — were brought about by petition drives in an effort to reject marriage equality laws enacted by their state legislatures. In Washington state, the same-sex marriage law took effect Dec. 6, and the Maryland law takes effect Jan. 1.

Same-sex marriage is now legal, or will be soon, in nine states — Maine, Maryland, Washington, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont — and in the District of Columbia.

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25 more reader comments:

  1. Oh, that’s WONDERFUL!!!

    Posted on Friday, December 28, 2012 at 8:05pm
  2. way to go Maine

    Posted on Friday, December 28, 2012 at 8:05pm
  3. yay this awesome

    Posted on Friday, December 28, 2012 at 8:05pm
  4. not a supporter. I am Gay so do go bashing

    Posted on Friday, December 28, 2012 at 8:06pm
  5. So exciting!!!

    Posted on Friday, December 28, 2012 at 8:06pm
  6. EXCITING!!!

    Posted on Friday, December 28, 2012 at 8:07pm
  7. Oh yeah, and in case there are protestors outside the clerk’s office, just ignore them.

    Posted on Friday, December 28, 2012 at 8:07pm
  8. how beautiful

    Posted on Friday, December 28, 2012 at 8:07pm
  9. Awesome!

    Posted on Friday, December 28, 2012 at 8:08pm
  10. Thought it wasn’t til the 1st for both states?

    Posted on Friday, December 28, 2012 at 8:09pm
  11. Wouldn’t it be a great 2013, if all states would accept same sex couples?

    Posted on Friday, December 28, 2012 at 8:10pm
  12. I agree Suzanne 100%

    Posted on Friday, December 28, 2012 at 8:13pm
  13. Suzanne. They will in June, when the US Supreme Court legalizes it.

    Posted on Friday, December 28, 2012 at 8:16pm
  14. Way to go Maine!

    Posted on Friday, December 28, 2012 at 8:16pm
  15. If I could like this many times I would! My home state is finally embracing equality!

    Posted on Friday, December 28, 2012 at 8:20pm
  16. Go Maine!!! <3

    Posted on Friday, December 28, 2012 at 8:42pm
  17. Protesters are not worth a legal battle. Leave them alone.

    Posted on Friday, December 28, 2012 at 8:42pm
  18. Good for them!

    Posted on Friday, December 28, 2012 at 9:22pm
  19. :)

    Posted on Friday, December 28, 2012 at 9:22pm
  20. Good to see another New England state has gone for equality which leaves only Rhode Island to join in allowing same sex marriages in their state I mean they recognize ones outside the state so why not pass the law to allow it in the state.

    Posted on Friday, December 28, 2012 at 10:25pm
  21. Hope Fiji becomes the 13th country in 2013 to do this.

    Posted on Saturday, December 29, 2012 at 12:26am
  22. go maine :)

    Posted on Saturday, December 29, 2012 at 12:49am
  23. I wish all the best to whom will have the pleasure to say “I do” from now on in Maine.

    Posted on Saturday, December 29, 2012 at 1:10am
  24. hiphip hoorah … !

    Posted on Saturday, December 29, 2012 at 4:52am
  25. Can’t wait! I’ll be moving to maine soon!!

    Posted on Saturday, December 29, 2012 at 10:05am