DULUTH, Minn. — St. Louis County in northeastern Minnesota will start taking marriage license applications from same-sex couples July 26.

The county says the date was set to allow couples to fulfill the mandatory five-day waiting period and be able to marry Aug. 1, the day gay marriage becomes legal in Minnesota.

Several Minnesota counties have already begun accepting marriage license applications from same-sex couples. But St. Louis County's director of public records, Mark Monacelli, says he and the county attorney decided to wait in case of legal challenges.

The new forms, which remove reference to applicants being a man and a woman, are now available online. Same-sex marriage licenses will be available for pick up beginning Aug. 1 at the county recorder's offices in Duluth, Virginia, Hibbing and Ely.