Baltimore, Maryland – As the clock turned midnight on the East Coast and many celebrated the new year, homosexuals observed the occasion by hosting “wedding” ceremonies in Baltimore City Hall.
Maryland’s homosexual “marriage” law was set to go into effect on January 1st, as it became the last of three states to make the legislation official after voting to approve the practice on Election Day. The law had been previously approved early last year as Governor Martin O’ Malley signed onto the bill in February 2012. Prior to the signing, O’ Malley, a Roman Catholic, had received warnings from Catholic officials that he was violating his faith.
Following its approval last February, pro-family groups throughout the state then succeeded in gathering enough signatures to challenge the new law at the polls, thus stalling its enactment. In November, voters allowed the statute to stay on the books by a narrow margin.
In Baltimore, approximately 14 people arrived at City Hall at midnight to mark the occasion, with the majority being 40 and up. Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake officiated some of the ceremonies, in addition to designee Jason Caton. Rawlings-Blake was stated to have performed the first service, which involved 68-year-old city employee James Scales and 60-year-old William Tasker. The two men, who have been in a homosexual relationship for 35 years, state that they specifically requested that the mayor officiate the event.
At the end of each ceremony, individuals were pronounced as “lawfully married” instead of “husband and wife,” reports state.
Homosexuals were able to obtain licenses beginning on December 6th, but the law recognizing the relationships did not go into effect until January 1st.
As previously reported, Maine officially began issuing licenses on Saturday, and approximately 28 people turned out at midnight to be among the first, the majority of which were middle-aged. Washington had already begun issuing licenses several weeks after Election Day.
With the exception of Maine, Washington and Maryland, over 30 states have a constitutional amendment on the books enshrining marriage as being solely between a man and a woman. The other six states that currently acknowledge homosexual relationships, New York, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and the District of Columbia, have all done so in the legislature.
Lawmakers in Illinois are also planning on presenting a proposal this week to legalize homosexual unions in the state. Through a White House spokesperson, Barack Obama endorsed the move on Sunday.
Homosexual “marriage” will likely continue to be a major issue throughout 2013, as the United States Supreme Court is set to decide two cases on the matter: Proposition 8 out of California, and the federal Defense of Marriage Act. According to reports, the court will decide whether states must permit homosexuals to “marry,” and when states do so, whether the federal government can disagree and choose to limit its recognition of marriage to solely the joining together of a husband and wife.
Both cases will be heard in March, with decisions being handed down in June 2013.