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Same-sex marriage law takes effect in Washington; hundreds turn out for licenses

gaycouples5SEATTLE — Same-sex marriage in Washington state became legal at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, and hundreds of same-sex couples lined up at the King County Administration Building in Seattle to apply for marriage licenses.

King County estimated the crowd just before midnight at more than 206 couples.

“To have this day and to really have the recognition of our state and our fellow citizens, it really means the world to us,” said Dawn Rains, who had arrived with her partner, Heather Laird.

“It’s a big deal. I’m really excited.  It’s a sign of being equal, being respected and having our love acknowledged,” Laird said.

The first couple chosen to apply for a marriage license just after midnight were Jane Abbott Lighty, 77, and Pete-e Petersen, 85, who have been together for 35 years and live in West Seattle. An interview earlier this week with the couple is below.

Kelly Middleton and Amanda Dollente were among those at the head of the line. “Just like everyone else that we know that are in love, we want to spend our lives together,” Middleton said. “We have two little girls and they are very excited, yes, they feel so special. They say look their mommies are getting married.”

Thurston County, which includes Olympia, the state capital, was issuing 15 licenses to a group picked from a lottery at a 12:01 a.m. Thursday ceremony. The county Auditor’s Office was to reopen at 7 a.m. Thursday for all others.

Washington imposes a three-day waiting period before marriage licenses become valid. That makes Sunday the earliest a wedding can take place.

Seattle City Hall and some religious groups and other organizations plan to hold free same-sex wedding ceremonies on Sunday.

Earlier this year, the Legislature in February passed a measure to legalize same-sex marriage, but opponents got enough signatures to hold a referendum, putting the law on hold.  The legalization of same-sex marriage, Referendum 74, was approved by voters in the Nov. 6 general election.  R-74 passed 53.7% to 46.3%, with only nine of Washington’s 39 counties voting for it, but those counties were in populous Western Washington.

In Olympia, Gov. Chris Gregoire and Secretary of State Sam Reed on Thursday afternoon official certified the Nov. 6 vote on R-74.

In the 2012 elections, Washington, Maine and Maryland became the first  states to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote. Others legalized it through legislative action or court rulings.

The other states to legalize same-sex marriage are Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, Maine and Maryland, and the District of Columbia.

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10 Comments to “Same-sex marriage law takes effect in Washington; hundreds turn out for licenses”

    B. Hess said:
    December 5, 2012 at 11:05 PM

    I am happy for the new law being enacted, but how much extra is being paid to the employees to do this at midnight? Would they open up for other couples to get their licenses? Why could they not wait until regular opening hours to do this?

      glynes said:
      December 6, 2012 at 8:47 AM

      From what I've heard, the employees volunteered their time for this, as have the judges who will be performing ceremonies on Sunday. I would sure hope that the "other couples" understand that this is a very special and very big deal for a lot of people.

    houx said:
    December 6, 2012 at 9:09 AM

    Again I am happy I live in California and don't have to see these stories on the news. Washington State is becoming a laughing stock of the country. One big pervert festival. Pot and Same Sex Marriage.
    Good thing back up into a corner. I notice more women lined up the men. Gays will now be held to the same stardards of monagous behavior that straights have had to endure.

    ROGER HOLLEY said:
    December 6, 2012 at 12:35 PM

    I'm sure those opposing same-sex marriage would have also opposed civil rights legislation in the 1960s and voting rights for women in the 1920s. Society evolves. Time marches on.

    Sane and Normal said:
    December 6, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    Gays are sick and disgusting, no matter what time it is. I just threw up in my mouth.

    SKrose said:
    December 6, 2012 at 6:17 PM

    I am so ashamed of my state and every single person who voted for the support and approval of perversion.

    Pandora's Box HAS been opened and more approval of other perversions will follow.

    This society is slowly sliding down the toilet. I sincerely hope no innocent moral people will be punished for societies approval of this sickness.

    All homosexuals and their supporters do need to remember that so called "TOLERANCE" goes both ways. Pushing approval of perversion in the faces of good moral people is evil and wrong.

    Max said:
    December 6, 2012 at 7:42 PM

    Homosexuals are a menace to society. After such immorality, we all know our nations fate.

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