Gay marriage kicks off in Washington state

Parade of gay couples tie the knot on first day that law comes into effect after vote

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 December, 2012, 3:36am


Hundreds of same-sex couples have flocked to get married in the northwest state of Washington on the first day possible after the state approved gay marriage in a referendum last month.

At the Seattle city hall on Sunday, couples streamed through - to the cheers and music of a crowd that had gathered on the rainy day to celebrate the advance for gay rights.

According to local newspaper The Seattle Times, more than 800 couples statewide got marriage licences last Thursday, the first day the law came into effect. With a state-mandated three-day waiting period to have a wedding, Sunday was therefore the first day ceremonies could take place.

King County, which includes Seattle, started officiating marriages as soon as the clock struck midnight.

Among the many couples there were Robin and Danielle, who did not give their last names.

"We renewed our vows today," Robin said via webcam, wearing, like her wife, a white jacket with a rose in her lapel.

"We have a stronger than ever relationship now, recognised across the state, hopefully across the country at some point. We feel really good about it today," she said.

Democrat Governor Christine Gregoire first signed a law legalising gay marriage in February, but opponents forced it into a referendum. Voters approved the law on election day, November 6, by a 52 to 48 per cent margin.

"Thank you Washington state for giving all of our deserving families equality and respect," Gregoire tweeted on Thursday.

On election day the northeastern state of Maine and the mid-Atlantic state of Maryland also voted for same-sex marriage.