Hours after Gov. Chris Gregoire signed the voter-approved law legalizing gay marriage, couples officially began receiving state licenses as Washington became the latest state to allow members of the same sex to marry. King County opened the doors to its auditor's office in Seattle just after midnight to start distributing marriage licenses to the hundreds of people who had lined up. By 6 a.m., 279 licenses had been issued. Because the state has a three-day waiting period, the earliest that weddings can take place is Sunday. Same-sex couples who were married in another state will not have to marry again since their out-of-state marriage became valid when the law went into effect. Washington was one of three states, along with Maine and Maryland, to approve same-sex marriage in the November elections. Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley on Thursday signed the proclamation confirming that his state’s residents approved the ballot question. That allows the counties to begin issuing marriage licenses immediately, though they can wait until the law officially goes into effect Jan. 1. Marriages will begin in the new year.
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