November 30, 2012
By Jacob Combs
Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler announced yesterday that same-sex couples in the state will be allowed to marry starting on the first day of the new year, adding in a 19-page opinion on the matter that clerks may begin issuing marriage licenses to couples on Dec. 6, the Washington Blade reported. Any licenses issued before January 1 may not take effect until that date, Gansler said.
Because January 1 is a state holiday and most clerks’ offices will be closed on that day, previous speculation had held that marriage licenses under Maryland’s new law, which was uphold by a popular vote in the November election with a 52-48 percent margin, would not be effective until 6 a.m. on January 4. (Maryland law holds that marriage licenses are not valid until 6 a.m. on the second calendar day after they are obtained by a couple from a clerk’s office.)
“We think it is a thorough and well-reasoned opinion,” David Rocah, staff attorney for the ACLU of Maryland, said. “We expect that, in line with the opinion, county clerks throughout the state will quickly begin accepting applications for marriage licenses, and will start issuing the licenses after December 6, with a January 1 effective date. There are many people who have literally waited a lifetime to get married, and they should not have to wait any longer than necessary after Dec. 31 to do so.”