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Maryland gay couples ring in new year pledging their ‘I do’s
“It’s just so hard to believe it’s happening,” Mr. Scales said shortly before marrying his partner of 35 years.
Six other same-sex couples also were married at City Hall in Baltimore, and ceremonies took place in other parts of the state as well.
The ceremonies follow a legislative fight that pitted Gov. Martin O'Malley against leaders of his Catholic faith. Voters in the state, founded by Catholics in the 17th century, sealed the change by approving a November ballot question.
“There is no human institution more sacred than that of the one that you are about to form,” Ms. Rawlings-Blake said during the brief ceremony. “True marriage, true marriage, is the dearest of all earthly relationships.”
Brigitte Ronnett, who also was married Tuesday, said she hopes one day to see full federal recognition of same-sex marriage. Maryland, Maine and Washington state were the first states to approve same-sex marriage by popular vote, a development Ms. Ronnett said was significant.
Same-sex couples in Maryland have been able to get marriage licenses since Dec. 6, but they did not take effect until Tuesday.
In 2011, same-sex marriage legislation passed in the state Senate but stalled in the House of Delegates. Mr. O'Malley, a Democrat, hadn’t made the issue a key part of his 2011 legislative agenda, but indicated that summer that he was considering backing a measure similar to New York’s law, which includes exemptions for religious organizations.
“As advocates for the truths we are compelled to uphold, we speak with equal intensity and urgency in opposition to your promoting a goal that so deeply conflicts with your faith, not to mention the best interests of our society,” wrote Archbishop O’Brien, who served as archbishop of the nation’s first diocese from October 2007 to August 2011.
The governor was not persuaded. He held a news conference in July 2011 to announce that he would make same-sex marriage a priority in the 2012 legislative session. He wrote back to the archbishop that “when shortcomings in our laws bring about a result that is unjust, I have a public obligation to try to change that injustice.”
The measure, with exemptions for religious organizations that choose not to marry gay couples, passed the House of Delegates in February in a close vote.
Mr. O'Malley signed it in March. Opponents then gathered enough signatures to put the bill to a statewide vote, and it passed with 52 percent in favor.
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White House pets gone wild!