MARYLAND

Maryland can issues same-sex marriage licenses before Jan. 1

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BALTIMORE (AP/ABC7) - Maryland's attorney general says clerks of court can begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses before Jan. 1, when the law is scheduled to take effect, so long as the effective date of the license is for the first of the year.

Attorney General Doug Gansler released the 19-page opinion on Thursday. Maryland's same-sex marriage law was approved by voters last month.

Questions have been raised about how that date affects when couples could first get a license, partly because Jan. 1 is a holiday when courts would be closed.

Technically, Gansler says clerks may begin issuing marriage licenses after the law is formally proclaimed to have been approved by the voters on Dec. 6. But Gansler also notes that a clerk could choose not to issue licenses until Jan. 2.

Weddings are big business. Many companies such a florists, bakers and wedding planners are already looking to capitalize on the expected rush to the altar. And one website - purpleunions.com - has compiled a list of those in Maryland that are gay friendly.

For couples planning a wedding, here is their list of gay-friendly wedding vendors:  http://www.purpleunions.com/

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