OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Seattle City Hall will open for several hours for wedding ceremonies on the Sunday after Washington state's new law allowing gay marriage takes effect.
Aaron Pickus, a spokesman for Mayor Mike McGinn, said Friday that eight municipal judges are donating their time to marry couples between noon and 5 p.m. on Dec. 9, three days after Referendum 74 takes effect.
Couples will be able to pick up their marriage licenses and certificates on Dec. 6, because Washington has a three-day waiting period, but the earliest time that a certificate could be signed — which makes the marriage valid — is that following Sunday.
The Seattle weekly newspaper The Stranger reported Thursday that it is donating $2,000 to help pay for materials, and that staff members will volunteer their time to help organize the event.
R-74 had asked voters to approve or reject a state law legalizing same-sex marriage that legislators passed earlier this year. That law was signed by Gov. Chris Gregoire in February, but was put on hold pending last week's election.
With 53 percent of voters' approval, Washington joined Maine and Maryland as the first three states to approve gay marriage with a popular vote. The laws in Maryland and Maine will not take effect until January.
Six other states — New York, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont — and the District of Columbia already allow gay marriage, but their laws were enacted either by lawmakers or court rulings.
Couples in King County will be able to pick up their marriage certificates and licenses on Dec. 6. King County Executive Dow Constantine said he'll sign the first license.