Washington State Equality: A Few Significant ‘Firsts’ in 2012

King County Administration Building

While Washington State, Maryland and Maine all won their ballot fights allowing same-sex marriage in the 2012 election, Washington State became the first of the three to issue marriage licenses to couples beginning at 12:01am December 6.

Additionally, the final vote tally shows Washington State with the largest margin of victory at 7.4 percent and Referendum 74 winning by 53.7 percent to 46.3 percent.

Continuing the first-in-the-nation trend, Washington State was the first among the three to hold same-sex marriages on Sunday, Dec. 9.  The Sunday nuptials followed the state law requiring couples to wait three days after receiving their marriage licenses before marrying.

The City of Seattle opened the Grand Lobby at City Hall for a mass wedding expectation. Local judges volunteered to officiate marriages, artists worked to provide colorful backdrops for ceremonies in the lobby, and volunteer witnesses were on hand.

Florists, photographers, event planners, caterers, and other wedding-related businesses are looking forward to a big boost in business from the passage of Referendum 74. A study earlier this year by UCLA’s Williams Institute estimates same-sex marriages will add $57 million to the Washington State economy in the first year alone.

“This is always what it’s been all about — making peoples’ dreams come true,” said Zach Silk, campaign manager of Washington United for Marriage, which led the R74 campaign. “[December 9 was] a proud and joyful day for all Washingtonians.  And for those of us from the campaign, we are so very grateful to the thousands of volunteers and donors who made it possible for everyone to marry the person they love.”

“It was always not if, but when,” said Lacey All, campaign chair.  “And after these victories, it’s clear that legislators and voters alike see the fundamental fairness of marriage equality.  We believe we helped create a winning template to aid other states in moving [toward] equality for all loving couples and their families.”

Source: Washington United for Marriage

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