On Tuesday, November 6, 2012, voters in Maryland approved the state’s same-sex marriage law by defeating the opponents of Question 6 at the polls.
While many Marylanders know that the change in the law takes effect January 1, 2013, many same sex couples who supported the Maryland ballot measure in favor of gay marriage are now wondering when they will be permitted to apply for a marriage license.
On November 29, 2012, Douglas Gansler, the Attorney General for the State of Maryland, issued a written opinion which answers that question, as well as other key questions such as “If a same-sex couple has already been married in a state where it was legal prior to January 1, 2013, and that marriage remains intact, can they now get a license and marry in Maryland?”
With regard to the procedures of applying for marriage licenses, each of the clerks of court for the 23 counties in Maryland and the Clerk of the Court for Baltimore City have been notified that they may begin accepting applications and issuing same-sex marriage licenses after the law is formally proclaimed to have been approved by the voters on December 6, 2012. However, clerks are prohibited from issuing any same-sex marriage licenses which would be effective before January 1, 2013.
The Attorney General’s Opinion, a copy of which is available here, also explains that a same-sex couple that has already been married in a state where it was legal prior to January 1, 2013, is not able to now get married in Maryland because, like any other couple who has already been legally married elsewhere, they will not be granted a duplicate marriage license in Maryland.