Gov. Gregoire signs election results with Secretary of State Reed.
OLYMPIA -- Washington state 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 vote results certifying that Referendum 74 passedin 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 -- including those that reiterate supermajorities to raise state taxes, allow for charter schools and legalize marijuana use for adults -- were signed earlier in Gregoire's office.
But the governor invited supporters of Ref. 74 to her conference room to mark the occasion, and to brag that Washington will be the first of the three states that approved same-sex marriage in the election to issue marriage licenses.
"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 commended supporters and opponents of the referendum for a civil campaign over a tough issue.
The law takes effect on Thursday. King and Thurston counties are opening their auditors offices just after midnight to issue marriage licenses, and Pierce County will open at 6:30 a.m.
Spokane County will open its auditor's office at the regular time, 8:30 a.m. It will stay open late on Friday, until 4 p.m.