FREDERICK, MD - Gay and lesbian couples can officially get married in the State of Maryland.
The law went into effect at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday after getting approved by voters on a referendum in November.
"This is the first time in history when put up to a referendum vote, the American people came together and said that they would not stand for discrimination or intolerance and that they would support love and equality for all and human rights for all," says Austin Beach, executive director of Frederick's LGBTQ Center.
The Maryland General Assembly passed the law during the 2012 session, making Maryland the eighth state to legalize same-sex marriage.
"It just signifies the tipping point in U.S. culture, Maryland culture, and for us as a whole that we're going into a new era that is more accepting and tolerant," says Beach.
Beach says this is a day the LGBT community has been waiting for for a long time.
"It gives hope to a lot of people who hope one day to find that person they want to be with and spend the rest of their lives with," says Beach. "For people like me, it's a really big thing to know that's definitely a possibility here in maryland now."
The only Western Maryland lawmakers to vote for same-sex marriage were Sen. Ron Young (D - Frederick County) and Del. Galen Clagett (D - Frederick County).