Photos: 7 Baltimore couples who rang in the New Year with marriage!

Yesterday, January 1, was the first day that same-sex couples in Maryland could marry and have those marriages respected by the state. Hundreds of loving and committed couples tied the knot in court houses across the state. In November, Maryland - as well as Maine and Washington - made history by approving the freedom to marry at the ballot and welcoming same-sex couples to share in marriage. 

As the freedom to marry took effect at 12:01 a.m. on New Year's Day in Maryland, ShaDonna Jackson - who we profiled in October with her partner of nearly 5 years, Lakisha Smith - was on hand to photograph the historic, heart-warming event in Baltimore, MD. She shared her photos, part of her "Shoot for Equality" project that seeks to document the first year of weddings between same-sex couples in Maryland - here with Freedom to Marry. She captured seven great couples:

1. James Scales and William Tasker

The Mayor of Baltimore, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake (one of our Mayors for the Freedom to Marry), presided over several of the wedding ceremonies yesterday, including the union of James and William, who have been together for 35 years. During the ceremony, she said, "There is no human institution more sacred than that of the one that you are about to form. True marriage, true marriage, is the dearest of all earthly relationships."

2. Danielle Williams and Darcia Anthony

The beautiful couple was thrilled to be included in the midnight ceremony at City Hall in Baltimore.

3. Shehan Welihinda and Ryan Wilson

Ryan Wilson, executive director of South Carolina Equality, the state LGBT advocacy organization in South Carolina, married his partner of five years, Shehan. He said, "It has been a long-time coming for us as a couple. Having the legal recognition for us as a couple is really important."

4. Brigitte Ronnett and Lisa Walther

Brigitte and Lisa, both 51, married after many years together. Brigitte told the Associated Press, "I think it's a great sign when you see that popular opinion is now in favor of [the freedom to marry]."

5. Jamie Kraft and Sarah Vickery

The freedom to marry has been debated across the state of Maryland for the past year. We're excited for couples like Jamie and Sarah who can finally marry in their home state.

6. William Countryman, Jr. and Roy Allen Neal

William and Roy have been together for 30 years. Although they live in Pennsylvania, they decided to marry in Maryland to celebrate their commitment to each other. Watch a video featuring the couple HERE.

7. Robert Coffman and Thomas Rabe

You can learn more about how we won the freedom to marry in Maryland so that great couples like Robert and Tom can marry here!

Learn more about Shoot for Equality HERE.