As-it-happened coverage: History! Same-sex marriage licensing in King County

(Entrance to the building – head of the line – and media area)
10:21 PM: We’re at the King County Administration Building downtown with hundreds of people – both engaged couples and media – looking ahead to 12:01 am, when County Executive Dow Constantine will sign the county’s first licenses for same-sex marriages. It’s a jubilant atmosphere. Whooping and hollering can be heard every few minutes from somewhere down the line. More to come.

10:35 PM: Above are Jason and Shannon Mullett-Bowlsby, West Seattleites who are #84 in line for their license, after 18 years together. Here’s a better shot of the line – and bubbles!

Overhead, there’s now a helicopter. Assuming it’s TV, but not entirely sure. Maybe Guardian One is doing something fun for once. We did see new Sheriff John Urquhart working the line as we arrived just after 10 pm. County staff here tell us as of a few minutes ago, they have 189 couples waiting in line for licenses. Good thing the county put up a canopy for the couples – it’s starting to rain lightly. We’ve ducked just under the overhang on the east edge of the media area.

10:48 PM: You might recognize Marley Blonsky and Whitney Young– also West Seattleites – they have been featured in various publications, and we published their announcement on WSB a while back. They are thrilled beyond belief and are somewhere around #20, according to WSB team members Katie and Torin, who are roving. This group, meantime, is serenading everyone:

At 11:20, those of us who are credentialed to go into the recorder’s office for the signing ceremony at 12:01 will have to go wait in line ourselves – if we go silent for any period of time, check the WSB Twitter account, here.

11:00 PM: One hour to go. People of course are here with signs, like Jeaneane Hill:

The other side of her sign says “for my gay son.” A guy named Scott is handing out buttons in celebration of his sister and her partner – he says they have been together 43 years. The buttons are rainbow colored with the Washington state logo and December 6, 2012.

Meantime, more couples have shown up – 205 now, according to county reps.

11:13 PM: County Councilmember Joe McDermott (with fiancé Michael Culpepper in the foreground at left – McDermott says they’ll marry sometime next year):

More music – a group has just shown up near the door and is singing a spiritual, a cappella. Again, if we can’t get photos on the web once it’s time to go in, check our Twitter feed.

11:43 PM: We’re in the County Recorder’s Office with a media and dignitary crowd. The first couple to get a license, Jane and Pete-e, have arrived for photo ops too:

Others who are in the first licensing group have arrived too. Wider view:

Lots of staging going on – the actual event will start at 11:59, we’re hearing it explained.

11:56 PM: The ceremony starts in one minute – leading up to 12:01 am issuances. The room hushes.

MIDNIGHT: The crowd counted down, as County Executive Constantine, with County Councilmember McDermott at his side – both West Seattleites – paused his speech. All applauded, and yelled HAPPY MARRIAGE! (Added – our clip including that, and the first few license signings:)

12:06 AM: And – the first to be licensed!

Among the couples who have followed – famed writer/editor Dan Savage and partner Terry:

12:11 AM: Wrapping up the ceremonial first round of couples, County Executive Constantine pays tribute to those who went before – to the years it took to get to this point. Applause followed, and then “Let’s go have a party!” (But first, a group photo.)

12:27 AM: Down toward the street level now. Those in line outside are cheering wildly as each licensed couple emerges. (Added video – Jane and Pete-e, greeted like rockstars as they departed, escorted by West Seattleite Anne Levinson, former judge and deputy mayor, a key organizer of the marriage-equality campaign, and of the logistics for this celebratory day:)

2:21 AM: Back at HQ, adding some more of the visuals and info (added the entire midnight-signing-ceremony clip inline). Thanks to Katie Meyer and Torin Record-Sand for assisting with on-the-scene coverage. For continuing coverage, King County’s social-media team is on the beat all night. Just tweeted a few minutes ago:

Also tweeting: Jason and Shannon, featured earlier in our story:

Congratulations to all. We’ll be reviewing more of our photos a bit later this morning to see if there’s more to add. And again, since there’s a waiting period, the weddings don’t start till Sunday.

7:12 AM NOTE: The county is continuing to tweet updates at @kcnews. More than 300 licenses so far.

50 Replies to "As-it-happened coverage: History! Same-sex marriage licensing in King County"

  • Roundthesound December 5, 2012 (10:33 pm)

    Biggest civil rights victory of my lifetime, so exciting! Congratulations!

  • argonautter December 5, 2012 (10:37 pm)

    This makes me so happy!!!

  • Wsfoodie December 5, 2012 (10:52 pm)

    Oh happy day! Blessings to all the couples who have waited so long for this.

  • Chris W December 5, 2012 (10:58 pm)

    Thank you, WS Blog. Not only can I rely on you to provide timely, relevant, and engaging content about West Seattle, I also enjoy and rely on your coverage of things that matter to me as an individual with interests beyond the ‘hood. I will be closely watching your coverage and reading the comments throughout the next few days. Thank you very much.

  • Katy Walum December 5, 2012 (11:07 pm)

    Blessings and congratulations to all! Stay warm out there, beautiful people!

  • Badger December 5, 2012 (11:21 pm)

    Yay!! This makes me so happy.

  • kelly December 5, 2012 (11:25 pm)

    Woo hoo!!!

  • StringCheese December 5, 2012 (11:39 pm)

    This is so beautiful. Love wins. Thank you WSB for the coverage!

  • Diane December 5, 2012 (11:43 pm)

    oh Jeaneane Hill, love that lady; most awesome PFLAG mom

  • I'mcoveredinbees December 6, 2012 (12:01 am)

    I am so overcome with emotion. This is amazing…

  • Traci December 6, 2012 (12:05 am)

    Oh, there I go crying!

  • JoB December 6, 2012 (1:15 am)

    it’s a good day

  • MercyMoi December 6, 2012 (2:14 am)

    What an exciting day! Way to go Washington State!

    I found this CNN article posted on Pete-e and Jane already (just after 1am):

  • cj December 6, 2012 (2:21 am)

    My husband and I are just old fashioned man and woman couple but I am so happy for these people. The world needs more love and I cant think of a better way than letting people who love each other build a life together.

  • Gill December 6, 2012 (4:46 am)

    Yea! Thanks for the coverage WSB. We missed you by a few minutes. Dow signed our Marriage Equality Day certificate about 4AM. He was still going strong. Thanks to all that have supported marriage equality!

  • dapuffin December 6, 2012 (5:23 am)

    Congrats to all the happy couples. Everybody is entitled to love and happiness. It’s about time!

  • k December 6, 2012 (5:30 am)

    Thrilling for all! History! Thank you WSB for this coverage.

  • Brandon December 6, 2012 (6:08 am)

    I never thought I would live through a momentous time in history for civil rights. You grow up reading about the Civil Rights movement or Women’s Lib. etc but to actually see something like this is amazing. Congrats to all the newly married couples and may you be blessed with many years of happiness together!!

  • Ann December 6, 2012 (6:46 am)

    Tears of joy for my friends who now have the same rights I’ve enjoyed through my lifetime! Thank you, WSB, for being there. What a special night! Congratulations Pam! Congratulations Chris and Ross! Congratulations to all!

  • kayo December 6, 2012 (7:00 am)

    This story brought tears to my eyes at 7 in the morning. So happy for everyone. Congratulations to all the happy couples!

  • velo_nut December 6, 2012 (7:11 am)

    Wait… I woke up this morning and my hetero marriage still meant the same thing it did before!

    Congrats everyone!

  • Christy December 6, 2012 (7:20 am)

    It’s about time! Congratulations to all these couples. I’m crying into my coffee.

    It’s been a long time coming.

  • Renee December 6, 2012 (8:10 am)

    Congratulations to everyone!!

  • Diner December 6, 2012 (8:38 am)

    Thanks for the moving coverage, WSB. This truly is a victory for love, tolerance and human decency.

  • miws December 6, 2012 (8:39 am)

    Congratulations, everyone!



  • Westcoastdeb December 6, 2012 (8:50 am)

    The happiest/most relieved tears I have cried for a long time are flowing down my face. Now to convince my [gay] best friend to move out here with his partner and throw a BIG GAY WEDDING!

  • Joan December 6, 2012 (8:51 am)

    Thia makes me so happy I am crying. Thank you WSB for the minute by minute coverage.

  • The Velvet Bulldog December 6, 2012 (9:03 am)

    Weepy with happiness while reading/watching this coverage. Congratulations to all of you beautiful couples. Thank you for your perseverance and love.

  • B December 6, 2012 (9:14 am)

    This is one of the greatest things to happen for Washington state. Congratulations to all the couples! :)

  • Trileigh December 6, 2012 (9:19 am)

    WSB, thank you so much for deciding to do as-it-happened coverage. I felt like I could really imagine what it must have been like to be there, and I got all weepy. Congratulations to all those happy couples – there’ll be a lot of wedding bells ringing on Sunday, I bet!

  • Cclarue December 6, 2012 (9:24 am)

    I love that the older couples who never thought they would see this day are seeing it!!!having lived through all of the taboo and hiding they now can celebrate something so sweet!!! And get cheered out of the courthouse and not protested!!!!Thank you to the people who fought for this.

  • Norma December 6, 2012 (9:50 am)


  • Erik December 6, 2012 (9:57 am)

    Awesome! Love will always win!

  • Steph December 6, 2012 (10:11 am)

    It was such an amazing experience last night for my wife and I. So filled with love from everyone. Thank you WSB for this coverage.

  • Que December 6, 2012 (10:55 am)

    So happy for everyone!! And a beautiful picture of Shannon and Jason!

  • Laura December 6, 2012 (11:35 am)

    So glad to hear I am not the only one crying into my coffee cup this morning! Congratulations to everyone who got their marriage certificates today. What a joyous day! And me and my partner are not far behind you! :)

  • D-Mom December 6, 2012 (12:14 pm)

    Really cool coverage of this. Thanks WSB and congratulations to all of those planning weddings soon!

  • Laura December 6, 2012 (1:09 pm)

    Congratulation and Blessings! I have tears of joy for this monumental milestone for equality!

  • Uncle Joe December 6, 2012 (1:27 pm)

    I’m so proud of my state! Where can we get more of the Dec. 6 2012 buttons?

    • WSB December 6, 2012 (1:34 pm)

      Uncle Joe, I wish I knew! Our team was just out circulating and spotting things and bringing them back fast to where I was anchored with the laptop … I don’t think they got contact info. But if anyone reading this knows, please advise! – TR

  • Leslie December 6, 2012 (1:35 pm)

    A wonderful day. Congratulations to all the couples. thanks WSB for sharing these moments with the rest of us.

  • T-Rex December 6, 2012 (2:24 pm)

    Hopefully none of them have to experience a legal divorce.

  • sharon December 6, 2012 (2:40 pm)

    Finally. A long time coming. I am so happy for everyone.

  • susanthe December 6, 2012 (3:29 pm)

    Congratulations Washington! Love wins!

  • Margaret in Vashon December 6, 2012 (3:52 pm)

    THANK YOU so much WSB for your as-it-was-happening coverage of this transcending moment in history! Tears rolling down my cheeks. Just plain proud to be living in WA on this day! Love to you all, forever and ever, Amen!

  • Wowza December 6, 2012 (4:17 pm)

    Anyone else notice that this story has 100% positive comments? Either there is censoring, or we’ve come a long way, baby. I’m choosing to believe the latter. What a remarkable historic day!

    • WSB December 6, 2012 (4:26 pm)

      For disclosure’s sake, there has been a grand total of one negative comment, which we did not approve for publication. We have made it clear for a long time that traits with which people are born – sexual orientation, gender, race, size, etc. – are not allowable grounds for criticism here; there are many websites that don’t have that standard – but ours does. – TR

  • Vanessa December 6, 2012 (8:41 pm)

    the most incredible thing is finding no hate mail here. Do you know how rare that is for us? Thank you.

  • Eric1 December 6, 2012 (9:08 pm)

    Good to hear that there is very little hate in West Seattle. I know haters exist everywhere but I would like to think that West Seattle is a live and let live kind of place.

  • DMC December 7, 2012 (8:09 am)

    Love the positive words on here! Yay for WSB for sharing such a monumental day for so many. Tears of joy!

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