Today I was honored to take photographs at the Brunswick town hall on the first day that Maine issued same-sex marriage licenses. Legislation passed on November 6th and signed into law by the Governor made today (November 29, 2012) the first day that marriage licenses could be issued to same-sex couples.
Town offices are normally closed on Saturdays, but many scheduled special Saturday openings so that couples seeking licenses could apply as soon as the law went into effect. Portland grabbed the headlines with a special midnight opening and a crowd estimated at three hundred cheering outside. Brunswick was quieter, opening from 9 to 12, but it was still very productive, issuing seven of the estimated 40 licenses issued today statewide. And, two Brunswick couples held their ceremonies immediately, before leaving the town hall. (In the photo above, the ring bearers for the first Brunswick wedding showed off the matching wedding bands before the private ceremony got under way.)
Like many photographers, I often tear up at weddings, and Saturday was no exception. The effort to extend the right to marry to all Maine citizens was a long time coming, and the setback suffered in 2009, when No on 1, was defeated, made folks nervous that marriage equality might be defeated again. Even though going into Election Day 2012 the polls showed that Mainers supported same-sex marriage, the memory of 2009’s setback–when the polling data also indicated a probable win–had many folks afraid to get their hopes up. When the figures came in late on election night a collective sigh of relief went up as Maine, Maryland and Washington became the first states to approve gay marriage by popular vote.
As a resident of Maine by choice, not by birth, I’m very proud of my adopted state. It was Maine’s natural beauty, which I discovered as a tourist, that made me want to move here, but it took me actually living here to realize that there is a whole lot more than just lobsters and lighthouses to “The Way Life Should Be.” Today, we added the right of all citizens to marry. Yea Maine!