Same-sex cou­ples take vows

Ref­er­en­dum takes ef­fect with about 140 cou­ples ty­ing the knot Sun­day.

Austin American-Statesman - - THE SECOND FRONT - By rachel La corte

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.

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., cheers and ap­plause reg­u­larly broke out as an­other cou­ple’s mar­riage be­came of­fi­cial.

“We’re to­tally thrilled,” said Keith Ba­con, who cel­e­brated his sixth an­niver­sary with Co­rianton Hale the night be­fore. The cou­ple had a com­mit­ment cer­e­mony in Au­gust but said this day was 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.”

The cou­ple 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.

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 at mid­night and started mar­ry­ing 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 take place was just early Sun­day.

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.

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.

Washington Gov. Chris Gre­goire and Sec­re­tary of State Sam Reed cer­ti­fied the elec­tion re­sults of Ref­er­en­dum 74 on Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon. The ref­er­en­dum asked vot­ers to ei­ther ap­prove or re­ject the state law le­gal­iz­ing same-sex mar­riage that leg­is­la­tors passed ear­lier this year.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Fri­day said it will take up gay mar­riage dur­ing the cur­rent term.

AP

Terry Gil­bert (left) kisses hus­band, Paul Bep­pler, af­ter get­ting mar­ried in Seat­tle City Hall on Sun­day. They were among the first gay cou­ples to legally wed in the state.

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