Washington State Supreme Court Justice Mary Yu will join a group photo of couples she married and families where she presided over an adoption on Sunday, August 28 at 11:00 a.m. at the Seattle Center Fountain.
Justice Yu has presided over hundreds of weddings and adoptions during her 16-year tenure as a judge. She officiated the state’s first legal same-sex marriage at midnight on the day the voter-approved law went into effect and has presided over 1,000 second-parent adoptions.
The families and couples now want to recognize Yu’s role in their shared experience. Families not able to participate are sending photos, stories, and stand-ins on their behalf. The hashtag #becauseofyu has gone viral and a Facebook event page has been created to unite the parties involved in this monumental reunion.
Sarah Toce, publisher of The Seattle Lesbian and founder of Seattle Women’s Pride, is organizing the event. “Justice Yu has had a positive impact on so many families. I wanted to create a space where people could thank her for the role she’s had in their lives. Uniting the couples and families she’s helped is the least I could do. The responses have been uplifting and endearing. I look forward to seeing so many beautiful faces come together Sunday for Justice Yu.”
Justice Yu’s weddings and adoptions are renowned for bringing families closer together. Taking the duty beyond its perfunctory administrative proceeding, the ceremonies are celebrations. “It’s a great opportunity to celebrate our families and lives and relationships,” said Justice Yu, “to affirm people in the life and love choices they’ve made.”
Appointed by Governor Jay Inslee on May 1, 2014, Justice Yu joined the Washington Supreme Court after more than 14 years as a trial court judge in King County Superior Court. Justice Yu is the first Asian, the first of woman of color (Asian and Latina), and the first member of the LGBT community to serve on the Washington Supreme Court. Before becoming a judge, Justice Yu served as Deputy Chief of Staff to King County Prosecutor Norm Maleng and as a Deputy Prosecutor in the Criminal and Civil Divisions. Yu was raised in Chicago by immigrant parents – her mother came from Mexico and her father from China – and she is the first in her family to graduate from college.