Maine poised for first gay weddings

Gay couples in Maine will get their first marriage licenses Saturday after the northeastern US state's same-sex marriage law goes into effect.

In Portland, the biggest city of the New England state, wedding licenses will be issued from the first stroke of midnight overnight, while other city halls have planned to exceptionally open their doors on Saturday.

Voters approved gay marriage in November, making Maine and two other states -- Washington and Maryland -- the first to back same-sex marriage laws by popular referendum.

Before the vote, gay marriage was already legal in eight US states: Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont, along with the capital Washington.

But those laws were either enacted by court rulings or state lawmakers.

Same-sex marriage became legal in the western state of Washington on December 9, while Maryland's law will go into effect on Tuesday, January 1.

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