Gay marriage is officially legal in Maine, and supporters took to the streets at midnight to celebrate while the Portland City Hall opened its doors to hand out the first gay marriage licenses in the state.
Several couples stood in line at the city hall building, hoping to be the first ones to get their license to marry their partner, regardless of sex.
USA Today reports that one couple, Steven Bridges and Michael Snell, held a commitment ceremony six years ago but still hoped for the day they could tell people they were legally married.
Bridges, a retail manager, stated, “It’s historic. We’ve waited our entire lives for this.” The pair wore black t-shirts with the words “Love is love,” written on them.
Snell and Bridges received the first marriage license and their two adult daughters stood as witnesses while their fathers exchanged their vows in the city clerk’s office. They plan to hold another ceremony for friends and family once the weather warms up.
NBC News notes that voters approved the bill in November, making them one of three states to do so by popular vote. The other two states are Colorado and Washington. Nine states have legalized gay marriage so far in the United States, while 31 have passed a constitutional amendment to ban it.
Roberta Batt, 71, also stood in line with her longtime partner, Mary, to receive their marriage license. Batt stated:
“We’ve been together for 30 years, and never thought that this country would allow marriages between gay couples. We’re just very thankful to the people of Maine, and I hope the rest of the country goes the way this state has.”
Not every same sex couple in line planned to marry as soon as they received their licenses, however. One couple planned to wait until Valentine’s Day, while others have booked lavish weddings in the spring and summer.