We were so excited about the four statewide marriage-equality victories on Election Day that we forgot to check the fine print and see when these darn things actually go into effect. So, whether you’re waiting on your wedding invitation or just want to send a bottle of champagne, here’s the rundown on when same-sex marriage becomes official in Washington, Maryland and Maine.
Gay marriage becomes legal in the Evergreen State after midnight on Thursday, December 6—and local registries and bureaus will be open to get them hitched. The King County Recorder’s Office in Seattle start giving out licenses at 12:01am on Thursday. (You can start lining up Wednesday night at 10pm.)
After getting a license, though, couples must wait three days before having a ceremony—the first day you can actually stomp on the wine glass is Sunday, December 9. If you want to get married at City Hall, a group of judges have volunteered get couples hitched on the weekend.
Voters in Maryland passed The Civil Marriage Protection Act, which legalized same-sex nuptials, on November 6. But it doesn’t go into effect until January 1, 2013. Whether clerks can give out licenses in advance and allow weddings to actually take place on New Year’s Day hasn’t been determined.
On the plus side, Maryland recognizes out-of-state gay marriages. Also, it doesn’t require witnesses or blood tests (yuck).
The jury is still out: In Maine, a referendum can take up to 30 days to verify and be signed by the governor, and another 30 to take effect. But the Secretary of State’s office says the law will kick in no later than January 4. So head to Crate & Barrel now!