Same-sex couples in Washington taking wedding vows


James Griener, left, and Paul Harris finish their paper work to get a marriage license at Vancouver’s Public Service Center on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012 in Vancouver, Wash. Harris is a manager in the records department and arranged that the pair, who have been together for 39 years, could be first to get the paper work that will allow them to marry anytime after a 3-day waiting period. Washington state now joins several other states that allow gay and lesbian couples to wed. Gov. Chris Gregoire signed a voter-approved law legalizing gay marriage. Because the state has a three-day waiting period, the earliest that weddings can take place is Sunday. (AP Photo/The Oregonian, Randy L. Rasmussen)

SEATTLE— Same-sex couples in Washington state began reciting wedding vows at events across the state Sunday, on the first day they could marry after the state’s gay marriage law took effect.

Last month, Washington, Maine and Maryland became the first states to pass same-sex marriage by popular vote. They joined six other states — New York, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont — and the District of Columbia that had already enacted laws or issued court rulings permitting same-sex marriage.

About 140 couples had registered to marry at Seattle City Hall, which had set up five separate chapels to accommodate the revelers. Starting at 10 a.m. (1800 GMT), cheers and applause regularly broke out as another couple’s marriage became official. Weddings at city hall were to continue through 5 p.m. (0100 GMT).

Mayor Mike McGinn, who greeted couples at they arrived, called it a “great day, a joyous day.”

“It’s really wonderful,” he said. “A new civil right is going to be recognized in this great civil institution.”

Keith Bacon and Corianton Hale of Seattle, who celebrated their six-year anniversary the night before, hugged and kissed to loud cheers and camera flashes as they took their vows before one of the 16 local judges who volunteered to officiate the weddings on Sunday.

“We’re totally thrilled,” Bacon said. The couple had done a commitment ceremony in August but said this day was particularly special.

“We had looked at this as maybe a day we would sign a piece of paper and seal the deal, and instead we’re having this huge party being thrown in our honor,” Bacon said. “It’s just mind blowing.”

Nancy Monahan, 57, a retired petty office with the Coast Guard, waited outside before the weddings began with her partner of 14 years, Deb Needham, 48.

Monahan was wearing her uniform, and Needham was wearing an ivory dress and jacket and matching hat. They said they wanted to join the large wedding event at city hall because of the significance of the day.

“It’s not very private, but very historic,” Needham said, to which Monahan added, “And very awesome.”

Some courthouses, including in King and Thurston Counties, opened right at midnight, and started marrying couples. Private weddings are expected to take place across the state, as well as some other public events, including the marriage of two couples after the end of the first act of a Seattle Men’s Chorus performance at Benaroya Hall in Seattle. The Paramount Theater in Seattle was also to host a large wedding reception for couples.

Hundreds of gay and lesbian couples picked up their marriage licenses as early as 12:01 a.m. Thursday, but because of the state’s three-day waiting period, the earliest weddings could

Jeannine Godfrey, left, and Katharine Tossey, right, hold their marriage license at the Thurston County Courthouse on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, in Olympia, Wash. Washington state’s new voter-approved gay marriage law took effect Thursday, and couples across the state began picking up licenses and can start marrying as soon as Sunday. (AP Photo/Rachel La Corte)

take place was just after midnight, early Sunday morning. In King County, home to Seattle, more than 600 same-sex marriage licenses were issued by Saturday.

Robin Wyss, of Seattle, said that the wedding ceremony to her partner, Danielle Yung, was “more emotional than I thought it would be,” in part because Yung is five months pregnant.

“Our friends are here, it’s a beautiful space and there’s all of his love and appreciation,” she said. “We’ve been thinking about this as more of a political celebration for all of Washington state, but obviously it’s very meaningful for us and our future child as well.”

Couples in Maryland also started picking up marriage licenses Thursday, though their licenses won’t take effect until Jan. 1. Maine’s law takes effect on Dec. 29. There’s no waiting period in Maine, and people can start marrying just after midnight.

Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire and Secretary of State Sam Reed certified the election results of Referendum 74 on Wednesday afternoon, and the law took effect at 12:01 a.m. Thursday. Same-sex couples who previously were married in another state that allows gay marriage, like Massachusetts, will not have to get remarried in Washington state. Their marriages became valid here as soon as the law took effect.

The referendum had asked voters to either approve or reject the state law legalizing same-sex marriage that legislators passed earlier this year. That law was signed by Gregoire in February but was put on hold pending the outcome of the election. Nearly 54 percent of voters approved the measure.

The law doesn’t require religious organizations or churches to perform marriages, and it doesn’t subject churches to penalties if they don’t marry gay or lesbian couples.

Married same-sex couples will still be denied access to federal pensions, health insurance and other government benefits available to heterosexual couples because the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act, known as DOMA, bars federal recognition of gay unions.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday said it will take up gay marriage sometime during the current term. Several pending cases challenge the federal benefit provision of DOMA, and a separate appeal asks the justices to decide whether federal courts were correct in striking down California’s Proposition 8, the amendment that outlawed gay marriage after it had been approved by courts in the nation’s largest state.

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Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • Mario

    ..tsk ..tsk  reminiscent of “Sodom and Gomorrah” God , have mercy on your souls !!!

    • efriend

      Do you seriously believe that your merciful God will judge someone for loving a person of the same sex but will not judge you for hating someone you haven’t met?

  • generalproblem

    hehehe sino kaya ang babae sa dalawa. kaya dumadami angmay aids eh saan ba naman nila ipapasok ang sandata nila kundi sa pare pareho nilang pwet na daming bacteri duon tapos ilalagay sa bibig yaiiikkss kadiri kayo hehhehe. anyway congrats sa mgabading sana mag condom kayo ha

  • EC

    News stories like this should not be relegated to lifestyle section of newspapers. It would seem that the editors of this paper are intimidated by the horde of moronic bigots who flood this forum with their idiotic ideas.

    • riccisan

      i agree with you. and also it shows the fact that PDI cant write anymore and they just get articles from AP, etc. ang daming lifestyle news na makikita sa Pinas pa lang. why cant they use their eyes at least? di ba?

    • efriend

      You don’t use the word “bigots” until your Mother educates you on its real meaning.

  • Daniel

    No human effort can cure this “unspeakable evil”.

    • nakawan

      i don’t support their lifestyle either, but i wouldn’t go so far as to call it evil

      • Patas

        Tao rin sila, although I don’t support their (sex) lifestyle.

    • efriend

      Do you seriously believe that your merciful God will judge someone for loving a person of the same sex but will not judge you for hating someone you haven’t met?

  • prince_janus

    ano ba yan? its a bad news. look what is happening nowadays. typhoon after typhoon, calamities after calamities. this is a reincarnation of sodoma & gomorrah.

  • phantomofhope

    my goodness! 

  • Bonggebongge

    Batas ng Tao laban sa batas ng May nilikha na itong labanan at nasunod ang nais na batas ng tao, malungkot hindi ito tama. Wala nang takot ang tao sa pwedeng gawin ng Dyos sa tadhana, hindi mag sasangayon ang karamihan sa sinabi ko pero nangyari na dati ito at may kaparusahan na naganap…Patawarin nawa ng tadhana at ng Dyos ang tao…

  • efriend

    I can’t for the life of me imagine that God will say, I will punish you because you are black, you should have been white; I will punish you because you are a woman, you should have been a man; I will punish you because you are homosexual, you ought to have been heterosexual. I can’t for the life of me believe that is how God sees things. – Nobel Peace Prize Awardee Archbishop Desmond Tutu

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