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Same-sex weddings account for 17% of marriages in Washington state

Thursday, December 5, 2013

SEATTLE — Same-sex weddings made up 17 percent of marriages in Washington this past year, the first year gay marriages were legal in the state, state officials reported Wednesday.

David Schowengerdt, 44, left, and Bryan Ochalla, 36, of Seattle walk down the steps of Seattle City Hall after being married Dec. 9, 2012, the first day same-sex marriage became legal in Washington state. Photo © Victoria Shaffer

© Victoria Shaffer
David Schowengerdt, 44, left, and Bryan Ochalla, 36, of Seattle walk down the steps of Seattle City Hall after being married Dec. 9, 2012, the first day same-sex marriage became legal in Washington state.

About 7,071 same-sex couples got married in Washington between December 6, 2012, and the most recent complete month of data, September 2013. There were 42,408 total marriages in the state during that time, according to the Washington State Department of Health.

So far, most of Washington state’s same-sex marriages, 62 percent, were between two women.

Washington is one of 15 states plus the District of Columbia where gay marriage is legal, but few have the kind of detailed data Washington released this week, in part because gay marriage is so new in most places.

According to the 2010 Census, there were about 152,335 same-sex married couples and 440,989 same-sex unmarried couples in the United States.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, during the first year and a half after gay marriage became legal, 8,181 same-sex couples got married. Between May 2004 and the end of 2012, 22,406 gay couples got married in Massachusetts.

Both Washington and Massachusetts warn that these numbers are close estimates, but not perfectly accurate, since gender information was not properly entered on every marriage certificate.

One of the main sponsors of the Washington state law that led to gay marriage said the wedding numbers were higher than he expected.

During the five years before Washington’s gay marriage law, when the state had what was affectionately called “everything but marriage,” only 9,500 couples registered themselves as domestic partners, including about 950 who were not gay, said state Rep. Jamie Pedersen, D-Seattle.

“In terms of the uptake in marriages, that’s a remarkable number,” he said.

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Pedersen said he was also pleased to be proven right about a few others things: that g ay marriage would drive tourism and that there was considerable interest in the institution among couples from across the state.

All but one of Washington’s 39 counties – Garfield County – reported same-sex marriages during the first 10 months of the law. The top five counties were King, Clark, Pierce, Snohomish and Thurston counties.

About a quarter of the gay couples who got married this past year in Washington were from another state. The biggest number, 524, came from Oregon. For 170 marriages, the couples live in Texas and 155 couples traveled from California to get married in Washington.

In only 6 percent of marriages for opposite-sex couples, both spouses were from another state.

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19 more reader comments:

  1. Let the numbers go up!

    Posted on Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 9:45pm
  2. Posted on Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 9:46pm
  3. And 36% of the gay male pregnancies, in the nation overall..

    Posted on Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 9:47pm
  4. Makes sense, built up demand and couples from Portland Oregon cross the river to get married.

    Posted on Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 9:49pm
  5. And yet, no one’s hetero marriage was ruined. Hmmmm

    Posted on Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 9:52pm
  6. Go figure.

    Replied on Friday, December 6, 2013 at 5:30am
  7. awesome

    Replied on Friday, December 6, 2013 at 4:26pm
  8. and MILLIONS in new revenue from the weddings theGOP should EMBACE SAME SEX MARRIAGE on economic reasons alone

    Posted on Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 10:06pm
  9. ’bout time! :)

    Posted on Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 10:09pm
  10. Marriage equality is saving marriage.

    Posted on Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 10:13pm
  11. Posted on Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 11:30pm
  12. Wow awesome

    Posted on Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 11:46pm
  13. lets see what it looks like when you do the divorce #’s in 5 yrs

    Posted on Friday, December 6, 2013 at 3:26am
  14. Congrats my darlings!!! xo

    Posted on Friday, December 6, 2013 at 4:57am
  15. Happy for them. Handsome couple/family-I see the little boy bringing more flowers.

    Posted on Friday, December 6, 2013 at 5:30am
  16. didan

    Posted on Friday, December 6, 2013 at 1:29pm
  17. cau thunoi tien

    Posted on Friday, December 6, 2013 at 1:29pm
  18. nice

    Posted on Friday, December 6, 2013 at 3:28pm
  19. They look very happy, congrats!!

    Posted on Friday, December 6, 2013 at 4:04pm