OLYMPIA, Wash. — Same-sex couples in Washington state began reciting wedding vows early Sunday morning, just minutes into the first day they could marry after the state's gay marriage law took effect.
Hundreds of gay and lesbian couples picked up their marriage licenses as early as 12:01 a.m. Thursday, but because of the state's three-day waiting period, the earliest weddings could take place was just after midnight, early Sunday morning.
Some courthouses, including in King and Thurston Counties, opened right at midnight, and started marrying couples. Seattle City Hall will open for several hours on Sunday starting at 10 a.m., and several local judges are donating their time to marry couples there.
At the Thurston County Courthouse five couples were married, including Jonathon Bashford, 31, and Matthew Wiltse, 29, both of Olympia.
The couple, together for 10 years, just had a large commitment ceremony in September when they registered as domestic partners, but said they wanted to be among the first to legally marry.
"We weren't going to wait one second longer," Wiltse said.
Last month, Washington, Maine and Maryland became the first states to pass same-sex marriage by popular vote. They joined six other states — New York, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont — and the District of Columbia that had already enacted laws or issued court rulings permitting same-sex marriage.