After waiting years—some upwards of 35 or more—the last few hours and minutes of anxious anticipation were joyful.
The dozen or so same-sex couples who were first in line to receive marriage licenses in Spokane County on Thursday, some of whom were lined up at 5 a.m., spent their time in line chatting about families, love stories and wedding plans.
The cookies were topped with gay pride flags and even employees at the Auditor’s Office brought their cameras to capture the historic moment.
Then right at 8:30, retired Air Force Maj. Margaret Witt and her partner, Laurie Johnson, stepped up to the counter to apply for the first marriage license.
The room was silent except for the clicking of cameras as the two filled out their paperwork, and then the celebration began.
Witt and Johnson said they were shaking as they walked out of the office and reflected on how far they had come in their quest for equal rights for same-sex couples.
“It’s what we’ve wanted since the beginning,” Witt said. “This is another incredible chapter in our lives and we’re very thankful for everyone that worked so hard to get this done.”
The couples in line celebrated the process, some hugging and crying and waving their paperwork to applause.
The auditor’s office will still open an extra hour today and tomorrow, until 4 p.m., for people to apply for their marriage licenses.
The first weddings will come Sunday, after the required three-day waiting period after a couple receives their license.