December 7, 2012 at 10:04 am EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Md. clerks begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples
Martin O'Malley, gay news, Washington Blade, same sex marriage, gay marriage, marriage equality, Maryland

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley on Thursday certifies his state’s same-sex marriage law. (Photo courtesy of Raquel Guillory/Governor’s Office)

Maryland clerks on Thursday began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples after Gov. Martin O’Malley officially certified the Nov. 6 election results.

Marylanders upheld the same-sex marriage law the governor signed in March by a 52-48 percent margin. Attorney General Doug Gansler said last week clerks could begin to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples once the governor certified the election results.

Gays and lesbians can begin to legally marry in Maryland on Jan. 1.

“The joy continues,” said Carrie Evans, executive director of Equality Maryland. “Who would think that filling out forms at a courthouse could bring such happiness and celebration? For our families who have been waiting to be treated equally under the law, this day brings us one step closer to that reality.”

Voters in Washington and Maine on Election Day also approved ballot measures that extended nuptials to gays and lesbians. Minnesotans rejected a proposed constitutional amendment that would have defined marriage as between a man and a woman.

O’Malley certified the election results on the same day same-sex couples in the Evergreen State began to receive marriage licenses — they can begin to legally marry on Sunday. The governor and Maryland First Lady Katie O’Malley are scheduled to host Brendon Ayanbadejo of the Baltimore Ravens and other same-sex marriage supporters at the governor’s mansion in Annapolis on Friday.

“It’s rare any public policy can have such an immediate and positive impact on thousands of people’s lives,” Human Rights Campaign spokesperson Kevin Nix said. “But today in Maryland we see that it can — thanks to the moxie of Gov. O’Malley and LGBT Caucus who made this happen.”

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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