How Washington Married 3,500 Gay Couples on One Day

By Paige Browning

More than three thousand same-sex couples can say yesterday (Monday) was their wedding day in Washington. The marriages came not through ceremonies, but by paperwork for people in domestic partnerships.

A clause in Washington’s same-sex marriage law says after June 30th of this year, the state would no longer allow couples to have domestic partnerships solely on the basis of being gay. Further, the state would convert those partnerships into marriage. Pam Floyd at the Secretary of State’s office says most marriages are conducted at the county level.

 

Floyd: “The county records your certificate of marriage, and then they send a copy to the state department of health vital records office. Well this law skipped all of that in between, and went from having a domestic partnership, and turning it into a marriage.”

 

Floyd says she is working with the Department of Health to make the change for an estimated 3,500 couples. She says there were many more couples before her office mailed each domestic partner to alert them about the conversion. She says at some point, the number of couples surpassed 10,000, but many either terminated their domestic partnership or got married before June 30th.

 

Washington state will still allow domestic partnerships in which at least one person is age 62 or older.

 

Copyright 2014 Spokane Public Radio

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