For the first time in state history Thursday, same-sex couples will walk into their local county offices and be able to register for a marriage license.
Mark the moment. Be proud. On Nov. 6, Washington and Maine became the first two states that by a vote of the people embraced same-sex marriage.
A three-day waiting period is in effect till Sunday, but the wedding frenzy already has begun.
The King County Recorder’s Office anticipated such large crowds, it planned to open its doors at 12:01 a.m.
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Thurston County held a lottery on Monday. Out of 15 couples, 10 were drawn to be the first to legally register there after midnight.
Pierce County voters didn’t even approve Referendum 74, but the recorder’s office is extending hours through the weekend.
The Snohomish County Auditor’s Office announced it will work through the lunch hour and after 5 p.m., if necessary.
Preparing for this flurry of wedding fever took a lot more effort than most realize.
The state’s 39 county auditors have become something like wedding coordinators, hustling to prepare for the big day. They don’t just run elections. They also issue marriage licenses.
Since Referendum 74’s approval became apparent, they‘ve worked behind the scenes with contractors to change the language of the state’s official certificate to be gender-neutral.
The Department of Health approved those changes Nov. 28, giving these elected officials seven days to change their systems.
Their collective professionalism deserves recognition.
Remember: only 10 of Washington’s 39 counties approved same-sex marriage.
Lewis County Auditor Gary Zandell says his conservative constituents voted nearly 2-to-1 against Referendum 74, but “it doesn’t matter. We’re one state, with one set of codified laws.”
Zandell says same-sex couples will be welcomed.
Such acceptance is something to celebrate.