MARYLAND

Maryland begins issuing same-sex marriage licenses

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Karen Kroening and her partner just didn't want to wait another day to get a marriage license.

“Extremely excited and emotional,” she says. “Because it’s been 29 years and this day has finally come.

She certainly didn't have to wait long today. She and her partner, who didn't want to be on TV, were only the second couple to apply for a license in Montgomery County Thursday. Numbers were very light in Baltimore and Annapolis too. Prince George’s County isn’t issuing licenses just yet.

The Montgomery County clerk of the court says she didn't expect a big rush.

“Well we knew D.C. has had it legal for quite a while,” says clerk Loretta Knight.

The new license references “party one and party two” instead of “man and woman” or “husband and wife” and it doesn't take effect until January 1, when the new law allows same sex marriage.

It is still a contentious issue. In Annapolis, a charter trolley operator has announced he is ending his wedding service because, in his words, "we're a Christian-owned business and we're not able to lend support to gay marriages."

In Annapolis his move has supporters and critics.

Back in the courthouse, Karen Kroening could tell you she's heard all that before. What matters to her is that she was handed a license to legally marry her partner of nearly three decades.

“I got nervous and it felt it felt very true and real and that a good feeling so it's a big day for us,” she says.

Attorney General Doug Gansler wrote in a legal opinion last week that the signature will officially enable couples to get a marriage license.

Gansler noted that clerks of court in Maryland counties will not be required to issue licenses before the Jan. 1 effective date of the law.

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