"Harford County is nice, but it's on the border with Cecil," Wilhelm noted, pointing out a Confederate flag on a property he saw along I-95 toward Delaware and a man he saw in North East with a Nazi tattoo.

"It reminds you of the mindset around some of that," he said. "It's still scary to be openly gay."

Wilhelm said he told the women in the Circuit Court office lobby that "there is a lot of craziness out there."

Anno also pointed out the passage of the law legalizing gay marriage, by way of referendum, was not ideal.


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"I am really glad it passed, but you know, civil rights really shouldn't be put to a popular vote," he said, adding interracial marriage would still be illegal if it had been put to a popular vote.

"I am happy that it passed and I think that it's going to start changing the nation as people realize that it's a civil marriage, it's not a religious issue," he said.

Harford voters did not support Question 6 on the ballot this past November, though the measure passed in the state at large.

Wilhelm and Anno said they stayed up on election night to hang on every second of the election results on Question 6.

"As we were watching it, it was going from 48 [percent] to 52, but every once in a while, it was getting 49," Anno recalled.

As a federal employee, Wilhelm said he still could not get Anno on his health benefits, for example. He was hopeful that the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which declares marriage to be between a man and a woman, will be struck down in the near future.

"Like many gay people, I will be waiting with bated breath," he said.

Anno and Wilhelm had "absolutely" considered themselves married before the law passed and said they had talked about going to New York when same-sex marriage was approved there.

But, Wilhelm said, "when we heard that it was coming to a vote here, we said, 'Let's wait.'"

Despite their concern about some of their neighbors, the men said they have received plenty of support on their marriage and relationship.

"Everybody we talked to has been really supportive about it," Anno said.

Karras, the Circuit Court employee, said she was pleased as she asked the men to hold hands and promise to be faithful and loyal to their spouses, although she slipped once by saying "wife."

"I am very excited, very happy for them," Karras said.