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Seattle City Hall: One day, 138 same-sex weddings

December 09, 2012|By Matt Pearce
  • Corianton Hale, left, and Keith Bacon are among the first couples married at Seattle City Hall on the first day of legal same-sex weddings in Washington.
Corianton Hale, left, and Keith Bacon are among the first couples married… (Bettina Hansen / Associated…)

A festive marathon marriage session at Seattle City Hall ended Sunday with 138 same-sex couples getting new beginnings as legally wedded spouses.

An additional 25 couples were married in a group ceremony at the Seattle First Baptist Church,  the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported.

The mass ceremonies marked the first day of legal same-sex marriage in Washington state, which approved the practice at the polls in November. King County, which includes Seattle, had accounted for roughly half of the 841 same-sex marriage licenses issued throughout the state Thursday, and city officials rose to meet the occasion with enthusiasm.

Sixteen judges volunteered to administer vows to couples every 15 minutes or so, and newlyweds then descended a long staircase out of City Hall in front of well-wishers and musicians. A reception with volunteer photographers and business-donated food ran throughout the day.

Among the marrying couples were syndicated sex columnist Dan Savage and his partner, Terry Miller; a retired Coast Guard petty officer; and a Seattle police detective.

"Congrats to our own Det. Peth!" the department tweeted, with a photo of the couple taking their vows.

“It was a pretty festive atmosphere,” Aaron Pickus, spokesman for Seattle mayor Mike McGinn, told the Los Angeles Times. According to Pickus, 133 couples were married inside the building and five more wed outside.

The enthusiasm continued on the city's various social media accounts and particularly on its official same-sex marriage blog, which ran a live feed of the events and documented its residents' stories throughout the day. 

One post featured the story of Linda Phipps and Barbara Allen, who fled Orange County in the 1980s for fear of losing their junior high teaching jobs if their relationship became public. In 2000, the two adopted an Indian daughter, Netra, but Phipps said she had to swear she wasn't gay to remain eligible. Twelve years later, their daughter attended their wedding. “Today I’m so excited, overjoyed and thrilled that my parents are able to get legally married," Netra said, according to the city's blog, which included a photo of the family.

According to the city, Steve Azzola and James South were the final couple to be married at City Hall on Sunday, and  Azzola had needed some persuading.

"I thought it was crazy at first,” Azzola recounted to the city's marriage blog. “Then the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it was really cool to be a part of Washington state history.”

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