Seattle Issues First Same Sex Marriages Licenses After Nov.Election
by Shaun Knittel
On December 5, Governor Chris Gregoire (D-WA) and Secretary of State Sam Reed certified Referendum 74, the marriage equality bill that makes same-sex marriage legal in the state .
“This is a very important and historic day in the great state of Washington. For many years now, we’ve said, ‘One more step. One more step.’ This is our last step,” Gregoire said. “To the couples that are here today that will finally be treated with the equality they’ve deserved
for many years, congratulations to each of you.”
On midnight, December 6, King County Executive Dow Constantine signed the first same-sex marriage license in Washington State for Jane Abbott Lighty and Pete-e Petersen at the King County Recorder’s Office in Seattle, Washington. The office opened at 12:01 a.m. to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples for the first time after Washington voters chose to legalize same-sex marriage in November’s election…
Dozens of gay and lesbian couples attained their marriage licenses. King County, the state’s biggest county, opened the doors to its auditor’s office shortly after
PHOTO ABOVE - 56-year old Larry Duncan and 48-year old Randy Shepherd receiving their marriage license in Washington State this morning.
Photographer Meryl Shenker snapped it and, as the photo became an internet sensation, told Seattle PI she focused on the men because she wanted to challenge stereotypes. She did her job well, and we should all be grateful.
King County Executive Dow Constantine said, “People who have been waiting all these years to have their rights recognized should not have to wait one minute longer.”
In Seattle, the mood was festive.
Volunteers distributed everything from roses and coffee to fruit. Champagne was poured. Different groups of men and women serenaded the waiting line, one to the tune of “Going to the Chapel.”
According to the Associated Press, “Hundreds of people,” (many of whom had waited all night and had lined up hours earlier” snaking around the downtown Seattle building on a chilly December night.
“We knew it was going to happen, but it’s still surreal,” said Amanda Dollente, who along with her partner, Kelly Middleton, began standing in line at 4 p.m. Wednesday.
Among those getting marriage licenses was Dan Savage, who said, “It’s been a long fight but it ain’t over. We still have to fight (the Defense of Marriage Act) and there’s 41 other states were same-sex couples aren’t allowed to marry.”
Savage plans to marry his partner on Sunday in a ceremony at City Hall.
Washington has a three-day waiting period, so the first
same-sex marriages can’t be performed in the state until Sunday. Several
members of the clergy have volunteered to perform marriages at three locations,
on Sunday. They are also planning to perform weddings later in the week,
particularly on Wednesday, which carries the notable date of 12-12-12
Washington will be the seventh state to recognize same-sex
marriages. Maine will follow on Dec. 29 and Maryland on Jan. 1 as the result of
votes in those states on similar ballot measures. The other six states (by
order of adoption) are Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire
and New York. Washington, D.C. also allows gays and lesbians to marry.