When will same-sex marriages begin in Washington, Maryland, Maine?

Posted on 09 Nov 2012 at 2:57pm

On Election Day, three states approved same-sex marriage and one, Minnesota, defeated an anti-equality constitutional amendment. But marriages have not yet begun in the three states — Maine, Maryland and Washington — that voted for marriage equality.

Maryland’s new marriage law takes effect on Jan. 1, but according to state officials, it will be a few more days after the New Year before marriage licenses will be issued. According to the Washington Post, that’s because Jan. 1 is a holiday and Maryland has a 48-hour waiting period from the time licenses are issued.

In Maine, marriage will go into effect sometime between Dec. 6 and and Jan. 5. The initiative goes into effect 30 days after the governor makes a “public proclamation of the result of the vote,” within 10 days after the result has been determined.

Maine voters on Tuesday overturned a 2009 ballot initiative that blocked a marriage equality law passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor. Equality lost in 2009 by 47 to 53 percent. The overturn vote this year was 53 to 47 percent.

Because Washington’s elections are done by mail, results came slower, but marriage passed by roughly the same margin here that it passed by in Maine and Maryland. Washington’s procedure is for the ballot initiative to be certified on Dec. 5. Marriage is expected to begin in that state the next day.

The biggest prize this year may still be California. If the Supreme Court decides not to hear the Proposition 8 case at its next conference Nov. 20, the lower court’s ruling stands and marriage begins immediately or within weeks in that state. If the high court decides to hear the case, a ruling would probably not be issued until June.

Marriage opponent Brian Brown, president of National Organization for Marriage, said his group was outspent 4 to 1, which he blames for the first successful votes for equality. Polls show 53 percent of Americans support marriage equality.

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