King County issues marriage licenses to more than 300 same-sex couples
December 6, 2012
By Warren Kagarise
NEW — 9:05 a.m. Dec. 6, 2012
In a milestone just after midnight Thursday, King County started issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, a month after Washington voters legalized same-sex marriage.
King County Executive Dow Constantine issued the initial marriage license at 12:01 a.m. in a ceremony at the King County Recorder’s Office. The county issued 345 marriage licenses by 9 a.m. — a record for the number of licenses issued in a single day.
“Tonight you are making history,” Constantine said to the initial group of 11 couples. “Not only our legislators but the people of this state have said every person is entitled to equal treatment. This advances our law in the state of Washington, and brings us one step closer to that first ‘self-evident’ truth announced by our nation’s founders: That all are created equal.”
The couples issued licenses Thursday must wait until at least Sunday to exchange vows, as state law requires a three-day waiting period.
Before the doors opened at midnight, more than 200 couples lined up outside the King County Administration Building. By 1 a.m., officials had distributed 237 numbered tickets to people waiting in line, recorders had issued 71 marriage licenses.
Constantine signed the initial licenses with a pen used by Gov. Chris Gregoire to sign the same-sex marriage bill into law Feb. 13. Opponents to the same-sex marriage law later gathered enough voter signatures to put the measure before the electorate as Referendum 74. The ballot measure passed among voters 54 percent to 46 percent.
Gregoire and the top elections official in Washington, Secretary of State Sam Reed, certified the Nov. 6 election results Wednesday.
The initial license Constantine signed went to longtime Seattle couple Jane Abbott Lighty, 77, and Pete-e Petersen, 85. The couple co-founded the Seattle Women’s Chorus and plan to wed during a Seattle Men’s Chorus concert Dec. 9.
“To have our 35-year loving relationship publicly honored and celebrated and have this be a legal marriage means everything to both of us,” Lighty said in a statement.