“The word is just beginning to get out,” the Anne Arundel clerk said, adding that he anticipates a lot of couples celebrating the New Year and the new law by taking their vows at 12:01 a.m. on Jan. 1. “I think there are going to be a lot of midnight weddings.”
And, of course, Thursday was only Day One — clerks’ offices will continue issuing licenses through the rest of the year. But for those planning one of those New Year’s Eve weddings, Wayne A. Robey, clerk of the Howard County Circuit Court reminds that Friday, Dec. 28, is the last day to get a marriage license and still be within the required two-day waiting period for a Jan. 1 wedding, given that the courthouse is closed Saturday and Sunday.
In Baltimore City, Clerk of the Court Frank Conaway said there’s a possibility the courthouse will open on Jan. 1, normally a holiday, if couples wanted him to marry them on New Year’s Day. One couple contacted him about that, and he referred them to the administrative judge, who would decide whether to open the courthouse. Conaway, whose office issued about a half-dozen licenses to same-sex couples Thursday, hadn’t heard if the couple followed through on the request yet.
If so, Conaway is ready: The vows that will be used in city courthouse weddings have been rewritten to accommodate everyone.
In the past, couples were asked individually if they would take “this woman” or “this man” to be his or her lawfully wedded wife or husband. Now, the individuals will be referred to by name, and asked about taking a “lawfully wedded spouse.”
And, instead of being pronounced “husband and wife,” they will be pronounced “lawfully married.”