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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