Washington Hands Out 1st Gay Marriage Licenses

Hundreds get them within hours of bill's signing

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 6, 2012 9:14 AM CST

(Newser) – Just after midnight today, Washington officials gave out the state's first same-sex marriage licenses—and hundreds had been waiting for just that in Seattle, where the line stretched around the block hours before the auditor's office opened its doors. "People who have been waiting all these years to have their rights recognized should not have to wait one minute longer," said one official of the middle-of-the-night opening.

Some of those in line drank champagne as volunteers handed out roses and coffee; singers performed songs like "Going to the Chapel," the AP reports."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 an 85-year-old woman who joined her partner to receive the first license in the city. Another recipient: activist Dan Savage. "It's been a long fight, but it ain't over," he said. Because the state has a three-day waiting period, the earliest that weddings can take place is Sunday.

Amy Andrews, right, smiles as she wears a veil while standing in line with her partner, Jeri Andrews, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012, in Seattle.   (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Couples hold flowers and bottles of champagne while waiting to be among the first to be issued marriage licenses for same-sex couples, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012, in Seattle.   (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
King County Executive Dow Constantine, right, embraces Pete-e Petersen as her partner, Jane Abbott Lighty, watches, after the couple received Seattle's first same-sex marriage license.   (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Gov. Chris Gregoire signs Referendum 74, a citizen-passed measure that legalizes same-sex marriage in the state, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012, in Olympia, Wash.   (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Claudia Gorbman, left, and partner Pam Keeley wear caps both reading "bride" as they display their newly-issued marriage license, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, in Seattle.   (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
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