I am so proud of Washington state for pushing referendum 74 through in December of 2012, making our state the tenth jurisdiction in the United States (9 states, plus the District of Columbia) to extend the freedom to marry to same-sex couples. Since that time I have had the honor and privilege of officiating dozens of same-sex weddings for couples from all over the country.
Following is an update from the Department of Defense who has voted to extend federal benefits to same-sex spouses of military service members. Congratulations on another victory!
Courtesy of NBC News.com September 3, 2013:
“The Department of Defense announced a plan on Wednesday to extend a range of federal benefits to same-sex spouses of military service members starting Sept. 3.
The Pentagon will extend to legally married same-sex couples the same privileges and programs that are provided to legally married heterosexual couples, including benefits tied to health care, housing, and family separation allowance, compensation paid to military members when their dependents can’t live with them at their permanent duty station.
“The Department of Defense remains committed to ensuring that all men and women who serve in the U.;SD. military, and their families, are treated fairly and equally as the law directs,” the Pentagon said in its announcement Wednesday.
On Tuesday, a senior official told NBC News that service members who are stationed in one of the 37 states where same-sex marriage is illegal will be offered up to 10 days of leave so they can travel to one of the 13 states, plus the District of Columbia, that grant same-sex marriage licenses.
All entitlements are retroactive to June 26, 2013 the date of the Supreme Court’s ruling that a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, is unconstitutional.”
By Jim Miklaszewski, Courtney Kube and Elizabeth Chuck, NBC News
I am so proud of Washington State since we passed Referendum 74, allowing same-sex couples to marry in our state. I have had the honor and pleasure of officiating dozens of same-sex weddings since December 6, 2012 when this referendum passed. I realize that those of you coming from in and out-of-state may have some questions around this subject, and I put together a list below of common questions and answers that I hope will help.
Questions and Answers: Marriage for Same-Sex Couples
1. Where do couples apply for marriage licenses?
Couples can obtain a marriage license from any county, usually at the county auditor. They do not have to obtain their marriage license from the county where they reside or the county where they plan to have the marriage ceremony. Follow this link to obtain information about county offices that issue marriage licenses: http://access.wa.gov/topics/licensecertificate/marriagelicense.
2. What if I am coming from out-of-state? How do I apply for my marriage license?
You can apply for your marriage license by mail. You will need to go to the King County Marriage License website and download the PDF Marriage License application. You will then need to take the application to a licensed notary (banks usually staff a licensed notary) and have your signatures notarized after you complete the form. You will need proper photo I.D. to have your signatures notarized. Next, you will send the form with a cashier’s check or money order in the amount of $64 to:
King County Marriage Licensing
King County Administration Building
500 Fourth Ave., Suite 311
Seattle, WA 98104
If an application is mailed, the marriage license must be picked up at this location, it will not be mailed. Office hours: Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., except holidays. (Please note, I am happy to pick up your marriage license for you at the courthouse with a 48-hour notice.)
3. How long do I have to wait before I can use the marriage license?
Washington law requires all couples to wait three days after applying for their marriage license before having their marriage ceremony. So if a couple receives their marriage license on December 6, they will have to wait until December 9 to get married.
4. Is there a fee to apply for the marriage license?
Yes. The fee varies by county. In King County, the fee is currently $64. Cash or checks are accepted.
5. Can same-sex couples marry in Washington if they live in another state?
Yes. There is no residency requirement to marry in Washington. However, out-of-state couples should be advised that their marriage may not be recognized in their home state if their state does not permit same-sex couples to marry.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any additional questions about marriage for same-sex couples in Washington State. I would love to be your officiant!
Last summer I was contacted by Nathan and Laura who immediately won my heart over with their love for each other. Both nature lovers, they chose Crystal Mountain Resort for their outdoor ceremony with the reception to follow in the lodge. I had no idea how magical this wedding was going to be. The combination of their love and the beauty of Mount Rainier in the background as they shared their vows was such a gift to be a part of. Daniel Sheehan of A Beautiful Day Photography captured some amazing moments throughout the day and my camera was clicking away as well. This first picture is of a beaming Nathan on his way to his bride at the top of the mountain via the resort’s gondola. And what Crystal Mountain wedding wouldn’t be complete without a cake depicting Mt. Rainier? Congratulations Nathan and Laura!
Last summer I had the joy and pleasure of officiating John & Desiree’s wedding at Robinswood House in Bellevue. The color scheme that Desiree chose was stunning with shades of orange and pink. For the ceremony, the couple hung frames from a tree and added beautiful bouquets provided by Ravenna Bloom. Desiree’s son walked her down the aisle and the two couldn’t have looked more happy. During the ceremony the family participated in the tradition of blending sands, which included lots of smiles and giggles. The dinner was held on the outdoor upper patio where tables were adorned with colorful vintage tablecloths. Dessert, provided by Sweet Side Cake & Al A Mode Pies included a traditional cake but also an assortment of pies which fit in perfectly for this fun summer wedding. These special moments and many more were captured by Heather at One Love Photo. Congratulations Desiree and John!
Last year I had the pleasure of meeting Stephanie and Margaret, who requested my services for their upcoming nuptials. Even though the passing of Ref74 was still brewing in Washington State, they wanted to have a wedding — and why not? Their planning included everything but the marriage certificate that gets forwarded to the county auditor post wedding. So we proceeded to plan a wedding!
Stephanie and Margaret chose the Shafer Baillie Mansion on Capital Hill for their ceremony and reception. Located in the heart of one of Seattle’s oldest neighborhoods, the mansion is noted for it’s gracious atmosphere of a bygone era, and is surrounded by large trees and seasonal gardens. Their ceremony and reception were held on the outdoor patio where the guests enjoyed food by Arista Catering and beautiful classical music. I provided my own custom-made “marriage certificate” so they could enjoy this special moment after their ceremony.
But wait there’s more!
On December 6th 2012 same-sex couples were officially and legally allowed to apply for marriage licenses for the first time in state history (finally!). Because state law mandates a three-day waiting period between when you get your license and when you get married couples wanting to make it legal could start holding ceremonies on December 9th. Enter Stephanie and Margaret — again. I heard through the grapevine (ok, it was Facebook) that they were heading down to the courthouse for a 3:00 a.m. (yes, a.m.) appointment with a judge to make their union legal. In addition, they were inviting folks to join them. I immediately called and said, “heck yes,” I want to be there so I can go full circle with you. After all, we shared a milestone earlier in the year and I was hugely honored to be with them then — so I agreed to join them at the courthouse. Not only did I join them at the courthouse — I got to be one of their witnesses. I can’t tell you how great of a feeling it was to join them for not only their legal wedding, but this moment in Washington State’s history.
So here they are, my lovely couple Stephanie and Margaret formally and legally married in the state of Washington on December 9, 2012. Congratulations my dear friends.