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While Washington, Maryland and Maine all won their ballot fights allowing same-sex marriage, Washington will be the first to issue marriage licenses to couples beginning tomorrow. At the same time, the final vote tally shows Washington with the largest margin of victory at 7.4%. The final vote shows R74 winning by 53.7% to 46.3%.
Tomorrow, county clerks across the state are expecting hundreds of couples to line up for licenses as soon as clerk’s offices open. Two counties — King and Thurston – will start issuing licenses at 12:01 Thursday morning.
Continuing the first-in-the-nation trend, Washington will be the first state among the three to actually hold same-sex marriages on Sunday, Dec. 9. The Sunday nuptials follow the state law requiring couples to wait three days after receiving their marriage licenses before marrying.
The City of Seattle is opening the Grand Lobby at City Hall for a day wedding celebrations. Local judges have volunteered to officiate marriages, artists are working to provide colorful backdrops for ceremonies in the lobby, and volunteer witnesses will be on hand.
Florists, photographers, event planners, caterers and other wedding-related businesses are looking forward to a big boost in business from the passage of Referendum 74. A study earlier this year by UCLA’s Williams Institute estimates same-sex marriages will add $57 million to Washington’s economy in the first year alone.
“This is always what it’s been all about — making peoples’ dreams come true,” said Zach Silk, campaign manager of Washington United for Marriage, which led the R74 campaign. “Tomorrow is a proud and joyful day for all Washingtonians. And for those of us from the campaign, we are so very grateful to the thousands of volunteers and donors who made it possible for everyone to marry the person they love.”
Lacey All, WUM’s campaign chair and a member of the Human Rights Campaign’s board of directors, added that the November victories show that marriage for same-sex couples has momentum across the country.
“It was always not if, but when,” said All. “And after these victories, it’s clear that legislators and voters alike see the fundamental fairness of marriage equality. We believe we helped create a winning template to aid other states in moving to equality for all loving couples and their families.”