Dozens of same-sex couples wed in Washington state for first time

Sun Dec 9, 2012 5:06pm EST
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By Laura L. Myers and Jonathan Kaminsky

SEATTLE (Reuters) - Hundreds of well-wishers braved cold and rain to celebrate 140 weddings at Seattle City Hall on Sunday, marking the first day that same-sex couples can marry in Washington state.

Washington, Maine and Maryland last month became the first U.S. states to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples by a popular vote, in a leap forward for gay rights.

"It means that I can use the word husband without question or explaining," said Corianton Hale, a 34-year-old graphic designer, who was one of the first to tie the knot at City Hall. He married freelance copywriter Keith Bacon, 44.

"We originally registered to come down here to get married at City Hall because we thought we'd just get in and get out," said Bacon. "It ended up being this incredible experience."

About 300 people waited outside City Hall in frigid drizzle to cheer couples as they descended the steps to street level, some throwing rice, blowing bubbles and handing flowers to the newlyweds.

"I've always said Seattle is a wonderful place to be gay, because it's got so many wonderful straight people in it, and you can see that here today on display," said Dan Savage, local author, gay rights activist and syndicated sex advice columnist who married husband Terry Miller.

"This is a party for same-sex couples in Seattle that is being thrown by the entire city," he told Reuters.

The ceremonies - which are scheduled to go on all day - were watched by Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, a longtime same-sex marriage supporter.   Continued...

David Mifflin (L) and Matt Beebe swear an oath while filing for their marriage license in Seattle, Washington December 6, 2012. Washington made history last month as one of three U.S. states where marriage rights were extended to same-sex couples by popular vote, joining Maryland and Maine in passing ballot initiatives recognizing gay nuptials. REUTERS/Jordan Stead