In early December, an Edgewater couple became the first people to register for a same-sex marriage license in Anne Arundel County.
Kim Hinken, 52, and her fiancé Adri Eathorne had been in a relationship for nearly 10 years without thinking they'd ever get married due to state law. However, all that changed when Maryland voters upheld a law legalizing gay marriage on Nov. 6.
"It felt fantastic. It felt like a piece of history. I know that so many people have fought so hard to have this law be passed and it means everything to me," Hinken said after picking up her marriage license.
But despite the legalization of marriage for same-sex couples, people like Hinken and Eathorne may still face roadblocks in their pursuit of marriage—particularly because some public employees are asking to be excused from performing the ceremonies.
As circuit courts across Maryland prepare for the first same-sex couples to wed as early as Jan. 1, reports arose that some employees were asking to be excused from being involved.
Deputy clerks in St. Mary's County have asked to be excused citing their religious opposition to gay marriage, according to The Washington Examiner.
Circuit Court Clerk Joan Williams told The Examiner that she decided to excuse those employees from performing any marriage ceremonies, saying she respects their decision.
Maryland voters upheld a law legalizing gay marriage on Nov. 6. The law went into effect on Jan. 1, but Circuit Courts across Maryland were closed. The first time same-sex couples will be able to wed at courthouses starts Wednesday.
None of the eight employees who perform marriages at the Anne Arundel Circuit Court House in Annapolis have asked for any exemptions from their marriage duties, Clerk Robert Duckworth said.
Patch was unable to reach circuit court clerks in Baltimore County or Baltimore City.
While Anne Arundel County employees appear on board, the first couples to the courthouse on Jan. 2 may face large, loud crowds.
The controversial Westboro Baptist Church protested outside of the court Wednesday morning. But a large counter-protest demonstration also attended, in hopes of drowning out the Westboro members' anti-gay rhetoric.
Anne Arundel County's approval of the law was 53 percent on Nov. 6.