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Maryland Begins Issuing Same-Sex Marriage Licenses

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Many same sex couples have begun getting marriage licenses in Maryland, though they won't go into effect until Jan. 1. Officials began issuing marriage licenses to couples today after Gov. Martin O'Malley signed a proclamation, according to the Associated Press.

Kim Hinken was the first person to get a marriage license in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court on Thursday morning. The 52-year-old Edgewater resident says she has waited nearly 10 years to become legally married.

O'Malley's proclamation affirmed that Maryland voters approved same-sex marriage in a ballot question last month.

Heather Ware and Tiffany DeVore were the first to get a marriage license in Allegany County on Thursday. Ware described the day as "more exciting than Christmas.''

Attorney General Doug Gansler wrote in a legal opinion last week that O'Malley's signature will officially enable couples to get marriage licenses.

Clerks of court in Maryland counties will not be required to issue licenses before the Jan. 1 effective date of the law, Gansler noted. Montgomery County and Baltimore city, two of Maryland's largest jurisdictions, will begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples Thursday.

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