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Wedding industry readies for Md. same-sex marriage

Thursday - 3/1/2012, 9:04am  ET

AP: b08eb493-4f0b-4036-8ccb-f22c31114ce4
Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley will sign the same-sex marriage bill Thursday. (AP Photo/Steve Ruark)

Kate Ryan, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - The announcements went out last week, and the setting has been arranged: Maryland's same-sex marriage bill will become law in a signing ceremony Thursday.

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, who sponsored the bill, will do the honors at the State House at 5 p.m.

The law will take effect in January 2013 -- unless it fails in a likely referendum in November -- and business owners like Tracy Callahan of Bethesda Florist are ready.

He saw an immediate spike in business after the District of Columbia legalized same-sex marriages.

"Right off the bat, we had about six or seven weddings," he says.

Wedding planners also saw business increase.

"You'll find a lot of the same-sex weddings are (between) two busy professionals who really don't have a lot of time to plan their event," Callahan says.

He is aware of the political wrangling that remains over same-sex marriage in Maryland, but should the law withstand legal challenges, and couples get ready to tie the knot, business will continue to boom.

"Certainly they're going to look for a florist, and we'd hope that we'd be the one they select," he says.

With Thursday's signing, Maryland becomes the eighth state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage. New Jersey's legislature passed a bill, but it was vetoed by Gov. Chris Christie.

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