Maryland: Same-sex weddings can begin New Year's Day

ANNAPOLIS, MD -- Marriage officials in Maryland can begin processing marriage applications for same-sex couples, allowing them to wed on New Year's Day, according to an opinion by the state's Attorney General.

Maryland AG Douglas Gansler released a lengthy opinion Thursday that makes it possible for gay and lesbian couples to apply for and process marriage licenses to facilitate January 1st ceremonies, and still comply with the mandatory waiting period in Maryland law.

Courts can immediately begin processing marriage license applications to allow wedding ceremonies for same-sex couples in Maryland on New Year's Day, according to an opinion issued Thursday by the state’s attorney general.

Initially, according to the Attorney General's office, with January 1 being a holiday, licenses could not be issued until the following day. With Maryland's mandatory two-day waiting period, those licenses would not take effect until January 4.

Although the opinion leaves it up to county clerks responsible for marriage licensing in Maryland to determine whether or not to make such accommodations, it clears the legal hurdles necessary under existing state law.

Gansler's office told LGBTQ Nation on Friday that issuing the opinion was to clear up procedural confusion after passage of Question 6, the ballot measure upholding the Civil Marriage Protection Act that was passed by the state legislature and signed by Gov. Martin O'Malley earlier this year.

The ballot measure was approved by 52% of voters on Nov. 6 -- the law takes effect Jan. 1.

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