(WSB photos by Nick Adams, from last night’s OutWest Bar election-night party)
After a long night of result-checking, even before the 2nd round of King County results is announced today, it’s clear that marriage equality will be the law of the land in our state: Referendum 74‘s passage is being celebrated. And King County Executive Dow Constantine just issued a statement saying the county’s ready to start issuing marriage licenses at the first possible moment:
“Marriage equality is now the law of the land in Washington State, thanks to voters who have made our state, Maryland, and Maine, the first in the nation to recognize this civil right at the ballot box. We can all be proud that our state is on the right side of history.
“This is a journey that started back in 1971, when Faygele Ben-Miriam and Paul Barwick were denied a marriage license by King County. Faygele did not live to see this day, but I think he would be proud of what we’ve accomplished.
“I want to thank all the legislative leaders for their tenacity in keeping the issue in front of the state Legislature. I have one of the pens Governor Gregoire used to sign the marriage equality bill into law, and I look forward to using that same pen to personally issue the first marriage license to a same-sex couple in King County on the first day the law goes into effect, December 6.
We expect large numbers of applicants for marriage licenses in those first few days, so our King County Recorder’s Office will be open for extended hours for the issuance of marriage licenses on Thursday and Friday, Dec. 6 and 7, and even on Saturday, Dec. 8.
At West Seattle’s OutWest Bar last night, WSB contributing photojournalist Nick Adams photographed a few of the people it will directly affect, like Michale Farrar and Nathan Adams, who have been together for three years and say they will marry next summer:
And Teri Gawne and Kristin Baron, who say they too plan to marry:
The champagne was already flowing last night, courtesy of OutWest owners and staff:
Washington was one of four states where voters were considering marriage-equality measures last night – and as of this afternoon, the pro-equality side won in all four: Maryland voters said yes to marriage equality, with Question 6 passing; so did Maine voters, approving Question 1; and Minnesota voters defeated an anti-equality measure. Meantime, we’ll add the newest Washington vote totals here when they come out later today/tonight.
4:27 PM UPDATE: King County Elections is not expecting the next round of numbers to be out until about 6:30 pm due to some equipment problems. Meantime, the R-74 victory is being celebrated at the Washington United for Marriage campaign headquarters – County Councilmember Joe McDermott sent this cameraphone photo of himself and fellow West Seattleite Anne Levinson during the celebration:
7:15 PM UPDATE: The margin after the latest ballot counts were added remains 52-48.