Gay Washington state couples get marriage licenses

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 6, 2012 at 9:31 pm •  Published: December 6, 2012
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Dulaney and McGee registered as domestic partners in Seattle in 2005, and then through the state when the state's domestic partnership law passed in 2007. Now they wanted to take that final step of marriage. They haven't set a wedding date but said a simple service is planned within the 60 days that their license is valid.

"I feel much more moved by it than I thought I would," Dulaney said. "I thought we were just going to come here, get the paperwork and go home. But now, it's like, 'whoa.'"

"It's for real now," McGee told her.

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, which 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.

"I really imagined my life as being just with a partner and never having a wife, so to have this day come about and to be a part of it, it means everything to me," said Kim Hinken, who was the first person to get a marriage license in Anne Arundel County, Md.'s Circuit Court. The 52-year-old Edgewater resident said she has waited nearly 10 years to become legally married to Adrianne Eathorne.

Maine's law takes effect Dec. 29. There's no waiting period in Maine, and people can start marrying just after midnight.

In addition to private ceremonies that will start taking place across Washington state this weekend, Seattle City Hall will open for several hours Sunday, and several local judges are donating their time to marry more than 140 couples starting at 10 a.m. In Olympia, a group of local judges has offered to perform wedding ceremonies just after midnight on Sunday at the Thurston County courthouse.

Washington state has had a domestic partnership law in place since 2007. The initial law granted couples about two dozen rights, including hospital visitation and inheritance rights when there is no will. It was expanded a year later, and then again in 2009, when lawmakers completed the package with the so-called "everything but marriage" law that was ultimately upheld by voters later that year.

This year, lawmakers passed the law allowing gay marriage, and Gregoire signed it in February. Opponents gathered enough signatures for a referendum, putting the law on hold before it could take effect.

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La Corte reported from Olympia. Associated Press Brian Witte also contributed from Annapolis, Md.

Follow La Corte at http://www.twitter.com/RachelAPOly or http://www.facebook.com/news.rachel and Manuel Valdes at https://twitter.com/ByManuelValdes .