News

King County sets licensing record during gay marriage marathon

King County set a new record for marriage licenses in one day early Thursday morning as gay marriage was officially recognized by the State of Washington. - Contributed photo
King County set a new record for marriage licenses in one day early Thursday morning as gay marriage was officially recognized by the State of Washington.
— image credit: Contributed photo

The historic ability of same-sex couples to acquire a marriage license in Washington has resulted in King County breaking its one-day record for license issuance in the first three and a half hours after the King County Recorder’s Office began issuing licenses at midnight Dec. 6.

King County Executive Dow Constantine was still signing commemorative documents for all license purchasers at 4 a.m.

King County broke its record for issuing marriage licenses in a single day, with 212 at approximately 3:30 a.m. The county typically issues between 75 and 100 licenses per day. As of 4 a.m., 247 marriage licenses had been issued. By 3 p.m. over 430 had been issued.

“I am so proud to be a part of this momentous occasion,” said Jon Scherer, Recording Manager for King County. “In only three and a half hours, we produced more marriage licenses than we ever have in a single day, and there’s still more to come. It’s important for us to deliver the same quality of service to all of our citizens, and now we truly can.”

The licenses issued by King County this morning were the first in the nation to be issued under a state law enacted directly by voters – and this morning’s event was big news across the country. The marriage equality hashtag, #MEDayWA, was the number-five trending topic on Twitter across the nation overnight. King County is tweeting status updates and information on @kcnews, www.twitter.com/kcnews.

King County is sharing photos from the event on its Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/KingCountyWA, where couples can also share their photos.

In the 12:01 a.m. ceremony at the King County Recorder’s Office, Constantine 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.

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 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 from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Learn more about applying for a marriage license in King County by visiting www.kingcounty.gov/marriage.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

Read the latest Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Sep 17 edition online now. Browse the archives.