Maine was the very first state to approve marriage equality through a ballot, reversing the 2009 referendum against the marriage equality law that had passed through legislation. For those of you who are planning to tie the knot in the Pine Tree State, here is the 411 on obtaining a marriage license:


When did marriage equality go into effect in Maine?
The law went into effect December 29, 2011.

Do I have to live in Maine to get married there?
No, anyone can apply for a marriage license in Maine. There is no residency requirement.

Where can I apply for a marriage license?
If you and/or your partner are a resident or Maine, you can apply at the town hall in which you live. If you are applying from out-of-state, you can apply at any town hall. It need not be the same town where you plan to be married.

Is a blood test required?

Is there a waiting period to get the marriage license?
There is no waiting period.

How soon after applying for a license can I get legally married?

Are there witnesses required in order to get legally married?
No witnesses are required.


How much is the marriage license application fee?
The fee is $20.  

How long is the marriage license valid for?
The license is valid for 90 days.

Can I apply online for a marriage license?
No, application must be done in person.

What paperwork is required when I apply for my marriage license?
Picture ID such as a driver’s license or passport. You should know your Social Security numbers and the state and county in which both of you were born.

Who can officiate the marriage ceremony?
Ordained ministers of the gospel, a person licensed to preach by a religious associations, judges or justices of the state of Maine, Maine-resident lawyers admitted to the Maine Bar and Maine notaries.

If I don’t live in Maine, will my marriage be recognized by my home state?
It depends on where you live, but in most cases, probably not. It will be recognized in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Iowa, New York, Maryland, Washington state and Washington, D.C.

Is my Maine gay marriage recognized by the U.S. federal government?

If I get legally married in Maine, will I still need special legal paperwork to protect my family?
Yes, if you plan to travel with your partner beyond the state of Maine, it will be necessary for you to hire an attorney to draw up paperwork to protect your family in case something happens in a state where your marriage is not recognized. Read our expert advice on how to legally protect your relationship and children.

Is a divorce decree required?
Yes, if previously married, you will need to show proof of how the marriage ended, i.e. a divorce judgment or a death certificate. These must be certified copies.

How do I change my name?
You’ll be asked your new last name on the marriage application. Once you receive your official copy of your marriage license, you can use that document to change your name on social security card, driver’s license etc., if you live in the state of Maine. If you live out of state, and in a state where your marriage is not legally recognized, it’s much harder and will, in most cases, require a judge’s order. Read our editor-in-chief’s account of what it was like taking her partner’s last name in Georgia.

Photo: Real Weddings Kevin and Pete, photography by Kristin Korpos Photography