Maryland issued its first licenses to gay couples Thursday morning, a month after voters upheld the state’s same-sex marriage law, which goes into effect Jan. 1. Among the first to receive one was Kim Hinken, 52, in Anne Arundel County, one of seven jurisdictions that began offering the postdated licenses Thursday after Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) signed a proclamation formally declaring that Question 6 had been passed. “It was awesome to hold that license in my hand,” said Hinken, her voice solemn. A Virginia native who lives in Edgewater, Hinken has been with her fiancee, Adri Eathorne, for almost 10 years, and said she moved to Maryland in part because of more favorable views there toward gay marriage. Still, she said, “I’ve been a lesbian all my life and I honestly thought I’d never be able to legally marry anybody. . . . It feels like society is really starting to treat us like everybody else.” While some, like Hinken, got the licenses as soon as they could, courthouses saw a trickle rather than a flood of applicants on Thursday, said Carrie Evans, executive director of Equality Maryland, which lobbied for the referendum in the run-up to the election.
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