Rush for same-sex weddings sets marriage license record

December 11, 2012

By Warren Kagarise

Dow Constantine

In a milestone just after midnight Dec. 6, King County started issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, a month after Washington voters legalized same-sex marriage.

The county issued a record 623 marriage licenses between midnight Dec. 6 and 4:30 p.m. Dec. 8. The initial day set a record at 489.

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.

“Tonight you are making history,” he 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 Dec. 6 waited until at least Dec. 9 to exchange vows, as state law requires a three-day waiting period for all marriage licenses.

King County judges started the initial same-sex weddings Dec. 9, although the county did not open the Issaquah Courthouse for the event.

Wanted: Local same-sex couples preparing to wed

Washington approved a landmark same-sex marriage law on the November ballot.

The Issaquah Press is seeking local same-sex couples preparing to wed, especially residents in the Issaquah School District.

Email your contact information to, or contact the newspaper on Twitter at, or on Facebook at

Issaquah Municipal Court Judge N. Scott Stewart said the city court does not have any same-sex weddings planned.

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 Dec. 5.

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 wed during a Seattle Men’s Chorus concert Dec. 9.

Before the doors at the King County Administration Building opened at midnight Dec. 6, more than 200 couples lined up.

“This is a terrific example of King County truly demonstrating its values and vision — of being a diverse and dynamic community, where all people have the opportunity to thrive,” Norm Alberg, King County Records and Licensing Services Division director, said in a statement.

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