Town and city halls in the US state of Maine will be opening at midnight on Saturday to issue licences for couples to hold same-sex marriages.

The city of Portland will open City Hall at 12:01 am tomorrow morning until 3 am to ensure as many couples as possible have the chance to request licenses and perform marriages. The city has said that anyone in line before 3 am will be given service.

The US state of Maine voted in favour of marriage rights for gay couples in a public referendum on 6 November 2012.

Residents in the state voted 54% to 47% in support of marriage equality, at the time of publishing.

Maine’s legislature passed an equal marriage law in 2009, but in a state-wide ballot with echoes of California’s Proposition 8, it saw a majority of voters reverse the legislature’s decision before the measure came into force.

Yet in a show of resilience, Maine became the first place in the US where same-sex marriage supporters had successfully collected enough signatures to put the measure on the ballot themselves, with a complete victory.

At the time, Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Chad Griffin said the result was a “landmark” move:

“We are thrilled for all Maine families and for the dedicated campaign that led this effort through to the end.

“As we celebrate victory tonight we know we have added momentum to ensure that this victory is soon felt in every corner of this country.”