Just After Midnight, Marriage Equality Begins in Washington

Marriage equality is now a reality in Washington State. Starting on Midnight this last Thursday, gay and lesbian couples began picking up marriage licenses in county courthouses, but because of a three day waiting period, weddings could not occur until today.

Some couples married right at midnight, vying to be the first couple married under Washington’s new marriage equality law. Emily and Sarah Cofer of Arlington were the first couple married in the state, as they were pronounced legally wed at 12:04 AM this morning.  The couple had a commitment ceremony in 2010, where Emily took Sarah’s last name. The couple also has a nine-month old daughter who also attended the ceremony.

But the Cofer’s were the first, but certainly not the last couples to be married in this morning’s early hours. As the hours pass, GLAAD will share with you some of the photos of weddings and couples from the first day of marriage equality in Washington.

Takado Yamada, a baliff who volutneered to stay up all night along with Judge Mary Yu to help couples be married, posted several photos of happy couples and families on his Twitter feed

Takado's photos were used by several media outlets to capture the moment, including this photo in USA Today.

Today, mass weddings are being held at Seattle City Hall, Pioneer Square, the Lake Union Café, Seattle First Baptist Church, Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Port Townsend, and The S’Klallam Tribe in Kingston. The Seattle Lesbian has listed where these weddings are taking place. Additionally, there are a number of private ceremonies being held, including at Liberation United Church of Christ in Seattle and Woodinville Unitarian Universalist Church.

Seattle Cith Hall is featuring a live feed of the weddings and celebrations taking place within called, appropriately, "Married in Seattle City Hall." They are sharing photos and video from the day.

After the weddings, couples are invited to a number of public wedding receptions. One reception is the Big Gay Wedding Reception with Dan Savage and Terry Miller at Q Nightclub. Another open wedding reception is being held at the Seattle Theater Group entitled Love Wins: A Wedding Reception for All. No doubt, Washingtonians are going to be celebrating these happy couples throughout the days and weeks ahead.

“The images of loving couples, legally committing themselves to one another as soon as they possibly can provides a testimony of the level of commitment that gay and lesbian couples have,” said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick. “They serve as a reminder for all of America that we need to offer the support and protections for all couples.”

Washington weddings began just two days after the Supreme Court announced it would take up two cases related to marriage equality, potentially changing US law in recognizing married gay and lesbian couples.