Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler issued an opinion that the initiative, approved by voters on Election Day, would allow county and city courts to take applications for licenses as of Thursday, with the provision that couples could not become legally married until the law becomes effective Jan. 1, WBAL-TV, Baltimore, reported.
Gov. Martin O'Malley is to sign the documents Thursday that will allow same-sex couples to apply for marriage licenses that would allow them to marry with all the legal standing that opposite-sex couples enjoy, beginning Jan. 1. Cities and counties have the option of whether to issue licenses before the new year.
A similar same-sex law was signed Wednesday in Washington state and was effective Thursday, CNN reported. A lesbian couple, together since 1977 received the first license in King County shortly after midnight.
"Oh, my goodness!" Jane Abbott Lighty, 77, told CNN, noting she and her partner, Pete-e Petersen, 88, have "been together 35 years and seen all kinds of change."
Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire and Secretary of State Sam Reed certified the initiative Wednesday.
Besides Maryland and Washington, voters in Maine also approved a same-sex marriage initiative. Maine's law will take effect Dec. 29, the Bangor Daily News reported.
The Secretary of State's Office said Monday Gov. Paul LePage signed off on the certified election results Nov. 29.
Minnesota voted down a constitutional amendment that would have defined marriage as between a man and a woman.
Nine states and the District of Columbia have approved same-sex marriage.