Walking into the Circuit Court in Annapolis on Thursday, Scott Bowling paused to reflect on the gravity of the moment.
"It was very touching to walk into that courthouse to register for my marriage license and stand inside the chapel knowing that in less than 30 days same-sex couples will be able to get married there," Bowling said. "It is a great day in Maryland."
Bowling, 41, was one of three people who visited the courthouse to pick up a license on the first day they were available to same-sex couples.
Maryland voters upheld a law legalizing gay marriage on Nov. 6, but questions quickly arose about whether couples would be able to obtain a license before Jan. 1 when the law goes into effect, according to The Baltimore Sun.
The courthouse will be closed on Jan. 1 and licenses aren't valid until 48 hours after they're issued, meaning same-sex couples in Anne Arundel County would have waited until Jan. 4 at the earliest to marry.
Last week Attorney General Douglas Gansler announced that county clerks could issue licenses as soon as Gov. Martin O'Malley declared the referendum results accurate, according to The Sun.
O'Malley signed off on the results Thursday morning.
Kim Hinken, 52, picked up the county's first same-sex marriage license. She and her fiancé Adri Eathorne live in Edgewater and have been together for nearly 10 years.
"I went in the office and she just prints out the license and hands it to me. It was like the most normal thing ever," Hinken said. "It felt fantastic. It felt like a piece of history. I know that so many people have fought so hard to have this law be passed and it means everything to me."
Linda Davis, who supervises the Marriage License department at the courthouse, said she expected more people to show up on Thursday for their licenses.
She thinks the number of applications will rise during December as more couples become aware of the news that they can now register to marry.
Hinken said she plans to marry Eathorne as soon as possible, but Bowling and his partner Dave are leaning towards spring nuptials.
Bowling said he went to the courthouse on Thursday not because he needed to get a license now, but because he simply "wanted to be part of this historic event."