Wedding bells for seven gay couples

Wed, Jan 2, 2013, 00:00

Seven gay couples in Maryland rang in the new year with wedding bells, the first wave of nuptials since voters in the state backed legalisation of same-sex marriage.

The couples were “lawfully married” rather than pronounced “husband and wife” at the ceremony on New Year’s Day in Baltimore’s City Hall.

Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake officiated at the wedding of the first of the couples, James Scales (68) and William Tasker (60). Mr Scales and Mr Tasker said they had been together for 35 years.

Voters in Maryland, Maine and Washington state approved same-sex unions on election day last year, becoming the only states to pass such a measure by popular vote.

Nine of the 50 US states, and Washington DC, have now legalised gay marriage. Another 31 states have passed constitutional amendments banning it.

A Pew Research Center survey from October found 49 per cent of Americans favoured allowing gay marriage, with 40 per cent opposed.

In May, President Barack Obama became the first president to say he believed same-sex couples should be allowed to get married.