First same sex marriage licenses issued in Wash. state

gay couple

As of Nov. 6, gay couples have the freedom to marry in Washington state. Image: David Jackmanson/Flickr/CC BY

Same sex marriage became legal in Washington State today, Thursday, November 6. More than 200 couples lined up outside the King County downtown Seattle administration building, to be among the first to receive a legal marriage license.

Lining up for same sex marriage

The couples began lining up 8 hours earlier, enjoying an atmosphere of festive anticipation that was shared by participants and bystanders alike.  According to the Seattle Times, “There were no signs of significant protests.”

Kelly Middleton and Amanda Dollente were the first in line, at around 4 p.m. The couple, from Auburn, Wash., have been an item for a year and a half, and have been living together for eight months.

Middleton told the Times, “We’ve been so anxious about this. This day couldn’t have come soon enough for us.”

The line grew as the couple waited the equivalent of an entire work day for the iconic opening of the doors.

The first license issued

The first couple to actually receive a license, at just a few minute after midnight, were West Seattle residents Pete-e Petersen and Jane Abbott Lighty, 85- and 77-years-old respectively. The couple has been together for 35 years.

“It’s very humbling to be chosen first. We feel like we’re representing a lot of people in the state who have wanted this for a long time,” said Petersen. “It’s hard to explain the thrill that we are really going to get married.”

Petersen and Lightly have been leaders in Seattle’s gay community, and vocal supporters of referendum 74. The referendum, making same sex marriage legal in the state, was approved by voters in November by a margin of 53.7 percent to 46.3 percent.

County Executive Dow Constantine personally signed Petersen and Lightly’s license, using the very pen Gov. Chris Gregoire used to sign the gay marriage bill in February.

Rare ‘happy thing‘ in government

County officials say they were happy to open at midnight and participate in this historic event. Constantine said, “I am so glad this night has finally arrived. This has been a long struggle nationally and in our state.”

The staff at the Recorder’s office said they were happy to open at midnight and stay open until 6:30 a.m. to accommodate as many same-sex couples as possible.

County spokesman Cameron Satterfield said, “This is marriage. It’s one of the few happy things that we get to do in government.”

Sources

West Seattle Herald
Seattle Times
CNN

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