Victory For Marriage Equality In Washington State Now Official

The opposition has conceded defeat in Ref. 74 here in Washington with 66% of the votes in. Even before their announcement,  King County (which holds about 30% of the state’s population) had already updated their website:

Gay and lesbian couples will be able to apply for marriage licences starting Dec. 6th and, after the three day waiting period, will be able to get married on Dec. 9th. To accommodate the expected high number of applications, the King County Recorder’s Office is making plans to process as many marriage licences those first few days as possible.

The Recorder’s Office will open for extended hours on Thursday, Dec. 6, as well as Friday, Dec. 7 and Saturday, Dec. 8. We are still firming up details of the plan for those first three days, including hours of operation. We will NOT be open on Sunday, Dec. 9, and we will NOT be able to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples until Dec. 6… Thank you for your patience as we finalize our plans to mark this historic occasion.

Couples who were married in other states will not needs to apply for licences in Washington because their marriages will automatically be recognized by the state starting Dec. 6th.  For those couples who only have a domestic partnership, they have the option of getting married right away or just waiting until June 30th, 2014 when their domestic partnerships are automatically converted into officially recognized marriages (unless one of them is 62 or older.)

And as an added bonus, Jim McDermott (D), chair of the King County Council’s budget committee, added a last minute amendment to the budget directing the extra funds from these marriage licence fess to go towards programs that help at-risk queer youth.

About Ericka M. Johnson

As a lover of science and reason, Ericka M. Johnson has an affinity for evolutionary biology and is the president of Seattle Atheists. She revels in any opportunity for a thoughtful debate on the meaning of life, the universe, and everything (especially over a pint.) Follow her on twitter @ErickaMJohnson

  • Silo Mowbray

    Hurrah, Washington State! Another ringing endorsement for human rights!

    This is yet another double-plus-good moment this week. First, gays are treated as equals, as they should be (HORAY!) and second, this will cause heads of Christofascists to explode, which makes me smile (HORAY!).

  • Ibis3

    Will marriages conducted in Canada also be recognised? I imagine that many northwesterners have gone across the border to marry in British Columbia.

  • ErickaMJohnson

    Not sure, still looking for a clear answer on that one. I’ll reply here again once I know.

  • Silo Mowbray

    I’ll gamble on “Yes.” Heterosexual marriages are recognized across the border, so if the bill was written correctly, that should simply extend to gay/lesbian couples as well.

    I wrote that knowing that just because something is reasonable, it doesn’t make it true when you’re dealing with bureaucracy. I’ll just place my hope in a small box until Ericka gets back to us with something definitive.

  • ErickaMJohnson

    Yes, but I remember there was some weirdness with some officials saying that American same-sex couples who get married there not being recognized a while back. I’m not sure of how that was resolved. That’s the only reason I hesitate to say for sure.

  • Richard Wade

    Weeks, months, and in rare cases even years after the end of the Second World War, there were Japanese soldiers on remote islands across the Pacific who refused to believe that Japan had lost.  It took a great deal of coaxing and reassuring by the Allies to talk them out of their bunkers so they could go home.  I wonder if years from now we’ll have to contend with fundamentalist die-hards who will still refuse to believe that they lost the culture war a long time ago, and they will still be trying to define marriage in the Constitution as if they invented it and have a patent on it, and will still be trying to deny GLBT people their basic rights.

  • Stev84

    The original DP law in WA was badly written in that it didn’t recognize out of state SSMs. They updated that later. Nevada still has that issue in that they recognize other DPs, but don’t downgrade SSMs to DPs.

    But when same-sex marriage is legal other marriages are recognized just like straight marriages. Some states like New York recognized them even before they had marriage equality themselves (which is an important point in the Windsor DOMA case). Rhode Island does too, although it only performs CUs itself.

  • Kevin_Of_Bangor

    Maine, Maryland and now Washington. History has been made.

  • Revyloution

    Christians are finally getting their way in Washington.

    Gays are getting stoned.

  • observer

    I believe that as homosexuals will become more accepted in America, not only will most fundamentalists  gradually accept gay marriage (some more reluctant then others), but–because fundamentalists HAVE to be the moral ones–they’ll claim it was their/God’s plan all along to allow gays to get married,  and that it was the Democrats/Liberals/atheists/etc.  who tried to suppress equal-rights.

    And just to stay “moral”, they’ll condemn the next group to hell.

  • Darrell Ross

    I don’t think so. I think the fundies will die off and their kids just won’t be as bad since they will grow up thinking of this as the norm.

    Same result in the end.

  • wmdkitty

    *happy-tail dance*

  • Richard Wade

    observer, unfortunately for those fundies who will try to lie that they were supportive, the internet is eternal. They have been kind enough to write a vast library of their vicious bigotry in their own words, from the infamous leaders to the unknown followers. It won’t be easy for them to pretend they were the good guys. 

    I hope Darrell’s longer term vision is right.

  • Vicki Williams

    They make a point of saying marriages from other states are automatically recognized as soon as it becomes legal here (Dec. 6th).  It does seem like the same principle would apply.

  • Vicki Williams

    Thanks for the note about the amendment.  I hadn’t seen that.  Youth Care is where I tutor.

  • nakedanthropologist

    This is great!  Congratulations Washington – and thanks for another wonderful example that other states can look to and follow in the continued march for human equality.

  • ReadsInTrees

    Congratulations Washington! I’m so proud of my fellow Mainers, and the citizens of Maryland and Washington who decided to stick it to NOM and other haters by being the first states to vote for equality!

  • Paul Paulus

    I live in Holland. It’s no Utopia. There are some serious social problems here, primarily regarding racism.

    But, I must say, gay marriage, euthanasia, coffee shops and society that is not soaked in religion make it a very livable place indeed!

    Congratulations to all those enlightened people in the USA who have chosen to forgo bigotry in the last few days.

    And and even bigger congratulations to those who are the recipients of this compassion and humanity. 

  • Ibis3

    I know there was an issue that came up earlier this year, but it wasn’t with the marriages, it was with divorces. In order to be divorced in Canada one of the parties have to have been a resident in Canada for a year before filing. So same sex couples would come here to marry, but because their marriages weren’t recognised at home they couldn’t get divorced there or here. I believe that’s now been resolved.

  • ErickaMJohnson

    Yes, looks like the weirdness with Canada was resolved. Couples who live in King County can go here to file their marriages in other states and countries with the county:

  • Xeon2000

    How exactly does a same sex marriage work if they get married in Washington and move to Texas to live?  Does Texas still recognize their marriage?  Can one of them get a job in Texas and get all the normal benefits attributed to a spouse?  Do all the same tax considerations apply when they file with the federal government?

  • pagansister


  • spook

    Nope, thanks to the “Defense of Marriage” act.

  • Heidi

    Yes, thanks to DOMA, the federal government doesn’t even have to recognize them equally if they stay in the state where they get married. With any luck Scalia will retire so Obama can appoint a sane person to SCOTUS, and we can get rid of it.