Gay marriage is officially legal in Washington as of today! Some of the state's same-sex couples lined up for hours yesterday in the cold so they could get marriage licenses in King County, which opened the doors to its auditor's office in Seattle at 12:01 AM because, as County Executive Dow Constantine told the AP, "People who have been waiting all these years to have their rights recognized should not have to wait one minute longer." Aww.
85-year-old Pete-e Petersen and her partner, 77-year-old Jane Abbott Lighty, are one of those couples, and were the first to get a license. "We waited a long time. We've been together 35 years, never thinking we'd get a legal marriage. Now I feel so joyous I can't hardly stand it," said Petersen. Ditto!
The state has a three-day waiting period, so couples can't actually get married until Sunday at the earliest. But volunteers gave out roses, coffee, and fruit, champagne was popped, and couples "canoodled" as they waited in line to get licenses. A mayor's office spokesperson said that more than 140 couples have registered to get married at City Hall, which will be open for several hours on Sunday; a bunch of local judges will be working off the clock to marry couples. My heart can't handle all this long-time-coming love, you guys!
"This is a very important and historic day in the great state of Washington," Gov. Chris Gregoire said before signing the measure that officially certified the election results. "For many years now we've said one more step, one more step. And this is our last step for marriage equality in the state of Washington."
Washington, along with Maine and Maryland, became the first states to pass same-sex marriage by popular vote last month. They joined New York, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and the District of Columbia, which already have laws (or issued court rulings) permitting same-sex couples to marry.
"We knew it was going to happen, but it's still surreal," said Amanda Dollente, who started standing in line at 4 p.m. yesterday with her partner.
Not to put a damper on things, but there are still 41 states where gay couples can't get married. How long will it take them to get on the right side of history?