Election 2012: Marriage-equality Referendum 74 passes, county readies for marriage-license issuing

(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.

35 Replies to "Election 2012: Marriage-equality Referendum 74 passes, county readies for marriage-license issuing"

  • HP gal November 7, 2012 (4:08 pm)


  • Rob November 7, 2012 (4:20 pm)

    I’m having trouble believing I’ve lived to see this day. When I was in public school in the 1950s and going through what can only be described as Hell on Earth, I figured one day I’d be beaten to death, not married! My partner of 38 years and I will “tie the knot,” and I will toast with champagne all those gays and lesbians who fought damn hard and suffered heroically but did not live to see this ultimate victory. In their names and with deep respect for them, we will wed.

  • Jami November 7, 2012 (4:35 pm)

    I’ve wondered all my life growing up why all i was taught about America was equality and there was still citizens who did not have the same right. I was overjoyed to hear that people are finally getting over fearing what they do not understand and embracing it!! Congrats to all homosexual couples who have waited so patiently and fought so persistently for this moment. Also Thank you to all the non-homosexual peoples(like me) who were not afraid to stand up and take action for what is right!

  • Barb November 7, 2012 (4:47 pm)

    I am also having trouble believing this is happening. My partner and I have been together 31 years. We had a “10th Anniversary Celebration” in 1991 it made a huge difference in how our relationship was accepted by our families. Now, as we come one step closer to full legal recognition, I treasure my sweetheart more than ever. I feel so grateful to the younger generation, both gay and straight, who are driving this movement. I volunteered for R-74 and saw their passion. It brought me to tears seeking them working so hard for me and my partner. Thank you all!!

  • David November 7, 2012 (4:58 pm)

    I can’t agree with you more, Rob. My partner and will have been together 19 years this month and the thought that we can be legally married by our 20th just blows my mind – and brings tears to my eyes. It’s a great day to be a Washingtonian!!!!!

  • ikahana November 7, 2012 (5:28 pm)

    20 years for us and I’m overwhelmed today, not just by Washington State but by all four states who have shown that finally things are changing. I’ve always hated that this is something that has gone up for a vote, but today I am so grateful for the people of this state that is my home who went out to support equality and love. I’ve had a huge smile on my face all day. Thank you!

  • wsmama3 November 7, 2012 (5:41 pm)

    Congrats! Wishing you all many years of wedded bliss!

  • Happy Delridge Neighbor November 7, 2012 (5:58 pm)

    I am also in tears reading these comments. So proud that our state is leading the nation in this. Thanks to all who worked hard on this!!

  • West Seattle since 1979 November 7, 2012 (6:03 pm)

    Congratulations to everyone who is finally going to be able to get married! This is wonderful news!

  • Parentofone November 7, 2012 (6:07 pm)

    Just reading the comments made me tear up! I’m so happy that 74 passed and that love prevails!

  • EmmaPeel November 7, 2012 (6:29 pm)

    I look forward to attending the weddings of many friends in the near future.

  • jno November 7, 2012 (6:30 pm)

    Another 10+ year couple here, also in relative disbelief and nearing tears, and in the process of choosing a date. Thank you, Washington!

    • WSB November 7, 2012 (6:47 pm)

      Everybody who’s getting married, consider sending us engagement announcements – we’ll publish them! (Wedding announcements too.) We already had a few earlier this fall. editor@westseattleblog.com – TR

  • undefeated November 7, 2012 (6:36 pm)

    This was my first chance to vote, to pass this, and it’s something I will never regret.

    I remember crying one night to my partner about this, how I thought I’d never get a chance to marry her. I used to be certain that this wouldn’t happen in my lifetime– if ever. But I never felt more powerful than when I was holding that ballot in my hand.

    Despite all the negativity from living in ultra-conservative Franklin County, I decide my future and I will marry whoever I love.

  • Ray November 7, 2012 (7:02 pm)

    Washington…welcome to the 21st century! Someday our kids and grandkids will think back and shake there heads, wondering how “we” could have been so backward.

  • taz November 7, 2012 (7:08 pm)

    Now if only the rest of the country would follow. I’m so glad that my gay and lesbian friends will have the chance to marry, if they so wish. So happy for us all!

  • Kelsie November 7, 2012 (7:10 pm)

    Tears over here as well. So very happy for all of you! Congratulations – you have deserved this for so long.

  • Ken November 7, 2012 (7:17 pm)

    My husband Chris and I were married the first time in San Francisco City Hall in 2004, eleven years after we met – only to be crushed a few weeks later when the California Supreme Court ruled our marriage, and those of thousands of other couples, a “nullity”. We knew that our marriage was not a nullity – it was very real. We were married again in 2008, again in San Francisco City Hall, during the few months when gay couples could marry in California. But when we returned home, of course, it was meaningless here. Now our home state will finally recognize our marriage. No one’s rights, especially the personal decision of whom to marry, should be put to a vote. But we are very grateful to our straight allies and all our fellow LGBT Washingtonians who voted to allow our marriage to finally count here in our state. We still need equal marriage in all 50 states, and we need our federal government to recognize our marriages. But this is a great step in the right direction.

  • Harry Reems November 7, 2012 (8:55 pm)

    Congratulations to you all, your time has come.

  • 44th Neighbor November 7, 2012 (8:57 pm)

    It’s a great day to be a Washingtonian! Love and best wishes to everyone who is celebrating marriage equality today.

  • tlf November 7, 2012 (9:16 pm)

    Thank you voters of Washington. My partner and I of 19 years took advantage of the “Everything but Marriage” law. We will also take advantage of R74 too. For those who reduce this to the sexual aspect; I can assure you that after this many years, it’s not even the first of many reasons why I love my partner. If you can answer who would you want by your side in health, illness, happiness, sadness, joy..etc., and it’s your partner, that’s what marriage is about. You can’t imagine life without them. While I never liked what should be our constitutional rights put to a vote, it’s the way it is. Until it’s passed by the federal government we still have work to do. Have you done the combined tax returns? It cost quite a bit and it was difficult to find an accountant that would take the time to process them, something I’ve always done myself. In any event, this does prove love eventually wins out. I’m appreciative. I’m happy, I feel included in my own state. Now let’s make it our country!

  • Greenwick November 7, 2012 (9:29 pm)

    We have other problems to worry about, yes, but I think this is worthy of celebrating, a cause worth fighting for. We have to support the fights for marriage equality across the US. We also need to fight for employment and housing rights, and we must work to improve the lives of POC, both within the queer community and without. But I will pause to celebrate here.

  • evergreen November 7, 2012 (10:01 pm)

    This is a civil rights issue, and it’s great to see the country moving in a more positive direction. The strength of the U.S. is in our diversity. Time to embrace it and ensure equal rights for all of our citizens.

  • scout 1 November 7, 2012 (10:24 pm)

    There are still alot of votes to be counted. I am hoping it does not get any closer!

  • Kelly November 7, 2012 (10:49 pm)

    Congrats to all my West Seattle friends & neighbors–I can’t wait to see your engagement/wedding announcements on the WSBlog!

  • EET November 7, 2012 (11:09 pm)

    It’s amazing to know that i can witness the marriage of my dad and his partner of 15+ years…..their love is unbreakable and something i want to find in my own life. congrats to all!!!

  • Ajax November 7, 2012 (11:28 pm)

    It infuriates and frustrates me that LGBT couples have to have their relationships put up to a vote to be “approved” by the public. That said, as someone who lived most of their life in a deeply red state where marriage equality would have never passed a popular vote, I am extremely proud to be a citizen of a state where the majority recognizes that consenting adults wanting to participate in the institution of marriage is not something that hurts anyone in any way.

  • Kat November 7, 2012 (11:35 pm)

    Im so proud to live in a state where the majority supports equality! If ALL people are not equal, we are all second class citizens! For my bible quoting/judgement passing friends and family… You are the minority now and I believe God is proud of the love and acceptance we showed to all people this election!

  • Brandon November 8, 2012 (6:28 am)

    Congrats to those who can now get married, My wife and I have been married for just over a year and I couldn’t imagine life without her and I couldn’t imagine if someone told me I couldn’t have married her. Yay Equality!!!

  • Jean November 8, 2012 (9:32 am)

    Reading this from AZ, I feel proud and very fortunate to be from Washington. We did the right thing finally.

  • Lee November 8, 2012 (9:40 am)

    I lived to see it! In the 1950’s my mother told me there was no such things as boys marrying boys and girls marrying girls. Only boys could marry girls. If she were alive today I wonder what she would say.

  • Mercedes November 8, 2012 (10:19 am)

    need to send some of the love to cali

  • Ex-Westwood Resident November 8, 2012 (10:51 am)

    Although I didn’t support R-74, I FULLY support the issue that “gay” couples should have the SAME and EVERY RIGHT as “straight” couples.
    My lack of support was more on along the line of what will happen when the first church/religion refuses to marry a gay couple, or a private entity refuses to provide a service because they are personally and morally against gay marraige???
    Will the church be sued??? Will the person be sued??? Will churches/religions/businesses be forced to cunduct and provide services if they are morally and ethically against gay marriage.
    And before I get the “Your a HOMOPHOBE/HATER/BIGOT responses” I FULLY supported Washington’s “The Same as Marriage” act passed by the State Legislature and signed by the Gov.

  • Rob November 8, 2012 (1:24 pm)

    Hey, Ex-Westwood Resident, thank you for your support of my civil rights. Nothing you’ve written indicates that you’re anything other than a good, fellow citizen, and your concerns are logical. Let’s look at them: (1) Referendum 74 protects churches and other religious organizations from having to perform any act that violates their faith. Period. And that’s exactly as it should be. (2) If a private entity refuses to provide a service to a gay person that is being provided to the general public (restaurant, department store, gas station, apartment rentals, wedding services, landscaping, auto repair, medical services . . . well, you get the idea . . . they will run afoul of Washington State’s anti-discrimination law. That’s already true whether or not Referendum 74 passes. That, too, is exactly as it should be. If I object to serving one minority segment of the general public, the answer isn’t to discriminate against that minority group. The answer is for me to either cope with my bias or to find another line of work that doesn’t put me in such a bind.

    I wish you’d examine the problem of “separate but equal” rights. I’ve had my status as a domestic partner questioned by several organizations (including my own family members!) where my status as a married person would not be. Culture trumps idealism. It would be nice if they were really equal, but in reality domestic partnerships don’t come close to measuring up to marriage in our culture’s eyes.

    Seriously, Ex-Westwood Resident, thank you for your thoughtful, sincere support of equality for all citizens. I really, really do appreciate it and I’m glad to share Washington State residency with you!

  • Russ Daly November 10, 2012 (7:54 am)

    My husband and I are not only celebrating our first anniversary — married 11-11-11 in Des Moines, IA — but we are also celebrating your victory in promoting marriage equality. Our year of married has been so very joyous and we look forward to many, many years together. May every couple who is ready to make that commitment have their union be blessed as much as ours has been.

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