Same-sex couples in Maryland began marrying just after midnight New Year’s Day as the state’s marriage equality law went into effect.
James Scales and William Tasker were among seven couples married at Baltimore City Hall, the Associated Press reports. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake performed the ceremony for the couple; Scales has worked for the mayor’s office for 25 years.
“It’s just so hard to believe it’s happening,” Scales said. The two men have been together for 35 years.
Helene Coccagna and Sara Davis were marrying in a private ceremony at midnight. The two women, together for 12 years, had worked to legalize same-sex marriage in the state. “You might think that things aren’t possible, but you know if you work on it things can become possible,” Coccagna told Baltimore’s ABC TV affiliate before the ceremony. See video of the couple below.
Gay couples in Maryland were able to begin getting marriage licenses December 6, but marriages could not take place until the new year. The state was one of three that affirmed marriage equality at the ballot box in November. The legislature approved the same-sex marriage law in February and Gov. Martin O’Malley signed it in March, but opponents gathered enough petition signatures to put it to a referendum, in which it passed with 52% in favor.