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Gay marriage law takes effect today

Thu., Dec. 6, 2012, midnight

Gregoire certifies Referendum 74

OLYMPIA – Washington took the last step Wednesday in changing its laws to allow same-sex couples to marry.

With about two dozen supporters looking on, Gov. Chris Gregoire and Secretary of State Sam Reed signed documents certifying that Referendum 74 passed in the Nov. 6 election. 

Certifying results one month after the election is usually a pro forma event. The results for the other statewide elections and ballot measures were signed earlier in Gregoire’s office with no fanfare.

But the governor invited supporters of R-74 to her conference room to mark the occasion, and to brag that Washington will be the first to issue marriage licenses among the three states that approved same-sex marriage in the election.

“This is our last step for marriage equality in the great state of Washington,” said Gregoire, who used a different pen for each letter of her name and distributed the pens among the same-sex couples who gathered for the ceremony.

Reed, who signed with a single pen, commended supporters and opponents of the referendum for a civil campaign over a tough issue.

The law takes effect today. King and Thurston counties planned to open their auditor’s offices just after midnight to issue marriage licenses. Spokane County auditor’s office planned to open at the regular time, 8:30 a.m., but stay open late on Friday, until 4 p.m.

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