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County Executive Dow Constantine issues first King County marriage licenses to same-sex couples


King County Executive
Dow Constantine

County Executive Dow Constantine issues first King County marriage licenses to same-sex couples


King County issues first same-sex marriage licenses after R-74 was approved by voters this fall.


County Executive Dow Constantine issues first King County marriage licenses to same-sex couples

History made at 12:01 a.m. as marriage equality became law in Washington state

dow-marriage-500x333King County Executive Dow Constantine this morning issued the first marriage license in King County to a same-sex couple – the first in the nation to be issued under a state law enacted directly by voters.

“Tonight you are making history,” said Executive Constantine to the first group of couples at a special midnight ceremony. “Not only our legislators but the people of this state have said every person is entitled to equal treatment. This advances our law in the state of Washington, and brings us one step closer to that first ‘self-evident’ truth announced by our nation’s founders: That all are created equal.”

In the ceremony at the King County Recorder’s Office, the Executive administered the oath and signed the marriage licenses for 11 same-sex couples recommended by community leaders. The first license he signed was for Jane Abbott Lighty and Pete-e Petersen of West Seattle, a couple who co-founded the Seattle Women’s Chorus and who will be getting married during a Seattle Men’s Chorus concert on Dec. 9.

“To have our 35-year loving relationship publicly honored and celebrated and have this be a legal marriage means everything to both of us,” said Lighty, who is 77.  

“In our marriage ceremony Sunday evening, both of us will be honored and privileged to represent not only ourselves but the greater community,” said Petersen, who is 85.

More than 200 couples were lined up outside the King County Administration Building when the doors opened at midnight. By 1:00 a.m., 237 numbered tickets – referred to by some as their “golden ticket” – had been distributed to those in line, and recorders had issued 71 marriage licenses.

The Executive signed the first licenses with one of the pens used by Governor Gregoire to sign the marriage equality bill into law on Feb. 13, soon after it had been approved by the Washington State Legislature. Opponents gathered petition signatures to block implementation of the law, but voters on Nov. 6 approved Referendum 74 to enact it. That vote was certified today by the Washington Secretary of State.

All the couples that are issued licenses today will have to wait until at least Sunday to make their marriage official, as Washington state requires a three-day waiting period.

The other ten couples in the ceremonial first group were:

  • Brendon K. Taga and Jesse Page of Vashon Island

  • Amanda Beane and Anne Bryson-Beane of Seattle

  • Gabe Verdugo and Adam Forcier of Seattle

  • Brenda Bauer and Celia Castle of Seattle (Capitol Hill)

  • Neil Hoyt and Donald Glenn Jenny of Bellevue

  • Stuart Wilber and John Breitweiser of Seattle

  • Teri Bednarski and Saracristina Garcia of Tacoma

  • Pam Keeley and Claudia Gorbman of Seattle (Lakewood/Seward Park)

  • Dawn Rains and Heather Laird of Seattle

  • Dan Savage and Terry Miller of Seattle

The King County Recorder’s Office in downtown Seattle will stay open until 6:30 p.m. tonight to process marriage licenses for all couples. The office will reopen on Friday, Dec. 7 from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 8.

Learn more about applying for a marriage license in King County at

Watch King County Executive issue first marriage licenses

King County Executive
Dow Constantine
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