New year sees new gay marriage law in Md.

Jan. 1, 2013 at 12:08 PM
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ANNAPOLIS, Md., Jan. 1 (UPI) -- The new year ushered in Maryland's new law legalizing same-sex marriage.

Dozens of same-sex couples said they would legally wed Tuesday, the first day they could, while other organizations vowed to protest, The Baltimore Sun reported.

Baltimore's City Hall opened soon after midnight to host the weddings of seven couples while a hotel on Maryland's shore prepared to host 50 weddings throughout the day Tuesday, including one for its owners, the Sun said.

The conservative Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., known for carrying signs saying "God hates [gays]" while picketing outside of funerals, has permits to rally in front of courthouses in Towson and Annapolis Wednesday, police said.

Parishioners of St. Anne's, an Episcopal church across from the Annapolis courthouse, said they planned to protest Wednesday to "bear witness to the good news of God's unconditional love."

In Illinois, Democratic state Sen. Heather Steans of Chicago said Monday she plans to introduce this week the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, which would legalize same-sex marriage, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The Senate will be in session Wednesday through Friday; the House will meet Sunday through Tuesday.

"Things are always fluid," Steans told the newspaper. "My goal is to call it this week for the Senate so it could then be heard in the House next week."

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