Pentagon Announces Same-Sex Spouse Benefits

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 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

FAQ’s About Marriage for Same-Sex Couples

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:

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 Minute Wedding? I can do it!

The couples I marry contact me with all different lead times for their wedding.  Sometimes I get the inquiry for my services months in advance — in fact I have already booked a wedding for 2013!  And other times I get a phone call from a couple who exclaims, “We want to get married as soon as possible”.  I will then ask, “how soon?”.  And they may answer tomorrow or next week or even next month.  That is what I often refer to as a “last minute wedding”.

A last minute wedding  can be any of the following:

  • You want a small, intimate wedding with just close friends
  • One or both of you have been called on military deployment
  • You eloped and now you want a real ceremony in front of friends and family
  • You want an understated but charming ‘second-time-around’ wedding
  • You need a perfectly planned, short-notice vow renewals ceremony
  • You pulled everything together at the last minute but you forgot to hire an officiant!

Whatever your situation, I can help!  Recently, I officiated a beautiful wedding for a small group of 20 at the Palisades Restaurant’s Magnolia room.  My couple called me a month in advance for what turned out to be a beautifully orchestrated day – with only a month’s planning.

last minute wedding, quick wedding, Seattle Wedding Officiants, Palisades restaurant, magnolia room, Seattle Wedding, Elaine

Last minute wedding, Magnolia Room Palisades Restaurant, Palisades restaurant, Seattle Wedding Officiants, Seattle Wedding, Elaine Way

This weekend I also had the pleasure of officiating a last minute wedding at Gasworks Park.  What an amazing day it was on top of the hill overlooking Lake Union.  The couple even brought their pooch, Bennett!

Last minute wedding, Gasworks park, park wedding, Seattle Wedding Officiants, Elaine Way, quick wedding

last minute wedding, Gasworks park, park wedding, Seattle Wedding, Seattle Wedding Officiants, Elaine Way

There are so many fun and beautiful locations to have your last minute wedding.  I am a native of Seattle and I have many favorites.  Here are just a few recommendations for your last minute wedding:

And don’t forget to check out all the hundreds of Seattle parks:  Each park has it’s own rules and regulations so you will want to make sure to read the fine print.

Call me today (206.406.7919) to help you get started planning your last minute wedding!

Elopement on the 75th floor of Columbia Tower

Cody and Rae contacted me just under a month ago to discuss their “last minute” wedding.  They live in Idaho but wanted to come to Seattle to elope.  I did not meet them in person until the morning of their wedding at their hotel in downtown Seattle.  What transpired during that meeting was something I could not have planned on my best day!  They had originally wanted to get married on Seattle’s waterfront.   Because the weather was cold and damp, however, our morning meeting was spent talking about plan B.  Plan B ended up being the observation deck of the Columbia Tower — 75 stories above their original waterfront location!  The entire experience of getting the “ok” from the Columbia Tower — to marrying Cody and Rae against such a dramatic skyline — to the Columbia Tower gifting Cody and Rae with a bottle of cold champagne was nothing short of magical.  I have to say that in all my years of officiating weddings this was probably one of the most unique elopements I have had the pleasure of being involved with.  The spontaneity of putting together a plan B that Cody and Rae will always remember and sharing their magical moment was truly amazing for me.  Congratulations Cody and Rae!

Please enjoy a few pictures of the day below (unfortunately my camera was on the blink so the pictures aren’t the best but I think you will feel the love and the drama of the setting):

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Ballard Locks Wedding

Who says weddings have to be expensive?    You can have a Ballard Locks wedding in a beautiful garden and view of Puget Sound without breaking the bank.  The Ballard Locks offer four different areas for your wedding ceremony and are available for you to reserve for a small donation.

These beautiful botanical gardens are a tribute to the devotion of horticulturist, Carl S. English, Jr.  During the 43 years working for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Carl transformed the barren lawn, left after the construction of the locks, into a garden worthy of serious study.  These lovely grounds are a masterpiece of horticultural splendor, combining the elegant lines and vistas of the romantic English landscape style with the original character of more than 570 species and 1,500 varieties from around the world.  One of Seattle’s best kept secrets is yours to enjoy.  The garden offers color fragrance, and open spaces to awaken your senses all year long.  I have officiated dozens of weddings in the formal garden and rose garden which is reserved for groups of 10 or less (section A).  The other three areas (sections B, C & D) can accommodate up to 50 guests each.

Consider this — my fee to marry you in the gardens is $295, and the space is available for a small donation.  If you want to do a picnic after your ceremony you can keep it as simple as fish ‘n chips at the nearby Lockspot Cafe, or somewhere with a view of Puget Sound and a fantastic menu like Ray’s Boathouse.  One note of interest: the Ballard Locks does not allow loud music or alcohol on the grounds.

Call me to help you reserve a garden at the exciting Ballard Locks and Carl S. English Botanical Garden for your Ballard Locks wedding.  Please enjoy the following pictures of the rose garden (section A) for your Fall, Winter, Spring or Summer Ballard Locks wedding.  Read more about small, Elope or Last Minute Weddings.

Seattle Wedding Officiants, Elaine Way, Ballard Locks Wedding, Carl S. English Botanical Garden wedding, Seattle Wedding, Garden Wedding Small Wedding, Last Minute Wedding, Elope Wedding

Seattle Wedding Officiants, Elaine Way, Ballard Locks Wedding, Carl S. English Botanical Garden wedding, Seattle Wedding, Garden Wedding Small Wedding, Last Minute Wedding, Elope Wedding

Seattle Wedding Officiants, Elaine Way, Ballard Locks Wedding, Carl S. English Botanical Garden wedding, Seattle Wedding, Garden Wedding Small Wedding, Last Minute Wedding, Elope Wedding

Seattle Wedding Officiants, Elaine Way, Ballard Locks Wedding, Carl S. English Botanical Garden wedding, Seattle Wedding, Garden Wedding Small Wedding, Last Minute Wedding, Elope Wedding