Gay couples had cause for celebration as the US state of Maine held the first marriages between same-sex couples today (29 December).
Among them were Steven Bridges and Michael Snell, who were the first gay couple to receive a marriage licence in Portland.
‘It’s historic,’ said Bridges, a 42-year-old retail manager. ‘We’ve waited our whole lives for this.’
Bridges and his now-husband Snell, a 53-year-old massage therapist, had been in a relationship for nine years before they tied the knot today at midnight.
Last month, voters approved a marriage equality ballot measure by a 53-47% margin.
It marked a dramatic reverse from 2009 when Maine voters defeated a same-sex marriage bill which overrode the state legislature’s approval.
Betsy Smith, executive director of EqualityMaine, said: ‘Before the end of this year, all loving and committed couples in Maine will be able to stand before their friends, family and community and make a lasting vow to be there for one another.’
Falmouth joined Portland in opening at midnight, while Bangor, Brunswick and Augusta planned to hold special Saturday hours.
Parties were in full swing across the state, with free cupcakes, carnations and a jazz trio playing in Portland’s marriage office.
On 6 November, it saw the first time the American public voted for gay marriage at the ballot box in Maine, Maryland and Washington.
The law is already in effect in Washington, while Maryland’s measure will take effect on Tuesday, the first day of 2013.
The three states join six others made of New York, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and the District of Columbia. These laws were enacted by lawmakers or court rulings.