Washington, Maine and Maryland last month became the first U.S. states to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples by a popular vote, in a leap forward for gay rights.
“It means that I can use the word husband without question or explaining,” said Corianton Hale, a 34-year-old graphic designer, who was one of the first to tie the knot at City Hall. He married freelance copywriter Keith Bacon, 44.
“We originally registered to come down here to get married at City Hall because we thought we’d just get in and get out,” said Bacon. “It ended up being this incredible experience.”
About 300 people waited outside City Hall in frigid drizzle to cheer couples as they descended the steps to street level, some throwing rice, blowing bubbles and handing flowers to the newlyweds.
“I’ve always said Seattle is a wonderful place to be gay, because it’s got so many wonderful straight people in it, and you can see that here today on display,” said Dan Savage, local author, gay rights activist and syndicated sex advice columnist who married Terry Miller.
“This is a party for same-sex couples in Seattle that is being thrown by the entire city,” he told Reuters.
The ceremonies – which lasted all day – were watched by Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, a longtime same-sex marriage supporter.
“What a wonderful thing to be able to support the commitment of these couples to each other and to herald the beginning of a new civil right,” McGinn told Reuters inside City Hall.