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First gay couples marry in Maine

Dec. 29, 2012 at 1:50 AM   |   Comments

PORTLAND, Maine, Dec. 29 (UPI) -- The city clerk's office in Portland, Maine, opened Friday night to allow gay couples to marry as soon as the state's new same-sex marriage law took effect.

Steven Bridges and Michael Snell, who have been together for nine years, tied the knot minutes after midnight Saturday in the Maine Room at City Hall, the Portland Press Herald reported. The two men, who said they had a commitment ceremony six years ago, were the first of about 15 couples in line for marriage licenses.

Mayor Michael Brennan arrived at City Hall at about 10 p.m. When the building opened its doors, a local jazz group played "What a Difference a Day Makes."

A crowd of about 300 people, including those waiting for marriage licenses, their guests and supporters, turned out. On the other side of City Hall Plaza two men protested the new law, adopted in a referendum in November.

Snell's adult daughters, Carolyn and Katie, who live in Boston, attended his wedding. Same-sex marriages have been legal in Massachusetts since a 2004 court decision.

"It's nice to see Maine catch up," Katie Snell said.

Portland and Falmouth, a nearby town, opened clerk's offices for midnight weddings. A number of other municipalities, including Augusta, the state capital, Bangor and Brunswick, planned to have special Saturday hours for marriage licenses and weddings.

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