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More than 2,400 same-sex couples have married in Wash. since law took effect

More than 2,400 same-sex couples have married in Wash. since law took effect

OLYMPIA, Wash. — More than 2,400 gay and lesbian couples have married in Washington state since the state’s voter-approved same-sex marriage law took effect last December, according to numbers released Thursday by the state.

© Victoria Shaffer
David Schowengerdt and Bryan Ochalla of Seattle are greeted with flowers as they walk down the steps of Seattle City Hall after being married on Dec. 9, the first day same-sex marriage became legal in Washington state.

The data released by the state Department of Health covers same-sex marriages from when licenses first were issued in early December until the end of March.

Individual counties had released same-sex marriage numbers previously, but the Department of Health’s numbers are the first statewide look at how many people took advantage of the new law.

According to the Department of Health:

  • Same-sex marriages occurred in 35 of the state 39 counties during the December-end of March timeframe.
  • Same-sex marriages represented more than 20 percent of the 11,661 marriages that took place during that same period of time.
  • King County had the highest number of same-sex marriages, with 1,321.
  • 63 percent o f same-sex marriages were female couples.
  • 14 percent of the weddings were for couples who had traveled to Washington state from other states.

Three counties have reported no same-sex marriages through June: Ferry, Garfield and Wahkiakum. Asotin was also listed by Department of Health as having no same-sex marriages during the December-March time frame, but the auditor’s office said Thursday they’ve had a total of 9 same-sex marriages since December.

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Washington state is one of 12 states, plus Washington, D.C., where same-sex marriage is legal. Minnesota, Delaware and Rhode Island legalized same-sex marriage this year, and laws in those states take effect latter this summer.

In November, nearly 54 percent of voters in Washington state approved a referendum that had asked them to either approve or reject the state law legalizing same-sex marriage that lawmakers passed earlier in the year.

The law took effect on Dec. 6, when hundreds of gay and lesbian couples picked up their marriage licenses. But because of the state’s three-day waiting period, the earliest weddings started taking place was on Dec. 9.

Numerous weddings took place across the state, both private and public, with the largest event hosted by Seattle City Hall, where more than 130 couples took part.

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