Dec. 29, 2012: Three couples get married and a fourth obtains a marriage license early on a Saturday morning at Bangor City Hall, amid a crowd of about 50 well-wishers.

Normally city offices aren’t open Saturdays, but this is an exception. Special business hours were scheduled because this is the first day on which marriages of same sex partners are legal in Maine, the result of the outcome of a Nov. 6 referendum.

In Portland, Steven Bridges and Michael Snell, both city residents, take part in Maine’s first marriage of a gay couple when they exchange vows at 12:25 a.m. Other couples get married or obtain licenses to do so in Brewer, Brunswick, Orono and South Portland.

On Election Day, Maine, Maryland and Washington became the first three U.S. states to authorize gay marriage in statewide referendums.

Maine had appeared poised to become the first state to legalize gay marriage by legislative action in 2009 when the Legislature passed and Gov. John E. Baldacci signed such a bill, but voters overturned that law in “people’s veto” referendum that year.

Joseph Owen is an author, retired newspaper editor and board member of the Kennebec Historical Society. Owen’s book, “This Day in Maine,” can be ordered at To get a signed copy use promo code signedbyjoe at checkout. Joe can be contacted at:


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