Gay couples are preparing for New Year's Day weddings statewide, the day same-sex marriage becomes legal in Maryland.
The new law takes effect at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday and follows a legislative fight that pitted Gov. Martin O'Malley against leaders of his Catholic faith. Voters in the state, founded by Catholics in the 17th century, sealed the change by approving a November ballot question.
"It's been a long time coming," said Jim Scales, who made a Christmas present of his marriage license to William Tasker, his partner of 35 years. Scales, 68, and Tasker, 60, plan to be married at a ceremony at Baltimore City Hall by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake shortly after midnight.