Maryland: Marriage equality begins at midnight

When the clock strikes midnight tonight, it will mark more than
simply the start of a new year for some couples in Maryland — it’s also
when Maryland’s new marriage equality law officially takes effect. Some same-sex weddings are already planned for the first moments of 2013.

Since New Year’s Day is a government holiday, courthouses across
Maryland are closed. But that didn’t stop Baltimore Mayor Stephanie
Rawlings-Blake (D) from taking steps to ensure that same-sex couples
won’t have to wait any longer for marriage equality. Rawlings-Blake will
open Baltimore’s city hall tonight
to allow at least seven same-sex couples to get married, and the mayor
plans to serve as an official witness for the wedding ceremonies:

New Years Day will have a new meaning for the
hundreds — if not thousands — of couples who will finally have the right
to marry the person they love
,” said Mayor Rawlings-Blake.
“It is a remarkable achievement for Maryland, and we are excited to open City Hall to host some of the first wedding ceremonies in our great state. Newly married couples will stand before their friends and family to profess their love and commitment to each other. This is what we worked for, and I am looking forward to take part in this historic and jubilant day.”

The first couple
to be married at City Hall will be a longtime aide to the mayor and his
partner of 35 years. And even though the courthouses in other Maryland
cities may not be open, the early marriage licenses that some same-sex
couples in the state were able to begin applying for in December will
become official at midnight tonight.

Being on West Coast time, trust and believe that at 9pm my time I’ll raise a glass to the fabulous couples who waited so long but won the right to marry the person they love.  That alone will make my New Year’s Eve fabulous.

In advance of all the celebrations, I want to congratulate all the newlyweds.  Enjoy, take it all in and celebrate!