Three lesbian couples received their marriage licenses this morning within the first half hour of the opening of the Grays Harbor Auditor’s Office.
Jen Gillies and Sarah Alvarez actually held their wedding this past Saturday during a private ceremony that had been planned in advance of the state referendum approving same-sex marriages in Washington state. They made sure they were first line this morning as the office opened at 9 a.m.
“This is a historic moment and we wouldn’t have missed this for the world,” Gillies said.”On Election Day, I was fighting back tears when it finally passed.”
Auditor Vern Spatz and his staff had been preparing for today’s new offerings of marriage certificates for quite a few days.
Spatz says his office has made plenty of copies available of the new marriage certificate, which does away with the identifying “bride” and “groom” option and, instead, replaces it with a marriage certificate that offers three different options for both applicants. There are now check marks for the marriage certificate applicant to select if they are a “bride,” “groom” or a “spouse.” That allows two brides, two grooms, a bride and a spouse or various other options to be selected.
Spatz said he was one of a few county auditors who provided input on the new marriage license, traveling to a meeting last month as the state tried to figure out how to revise the license. At one point, the state was looking at allowing an “Applicant A” and an “Applicant B,” but rejected that approach to the current option, allowing more variables.
Spatz said he also revised a more ceremonial marriage license, using the same kind of approach. Although, the official marriage license is more formal, many couples like to have a fancier certificate that they can include in wedding albums or to frame.
Gillies and Alvarez chose to be “bride” and “bride” on their license.
Another couple, who have been together for 22 years, had a bit more of a debate, flipping between “spouse” and “spouse” before choosing to both be brides, as well. They asked that their names not be printed, but said they had a wedding ceremony some years ago in Hawaii, and for them, finally getting a license was a long time coming.
A third couple, who also asked not to be identified, had already registered as domestic partners and planned to do a wedding in the coming months.
Spatz said a three-day waiting period is still in effect before the licenses can be signed.
Gillies and Alvarez said even though they had a private ceremony, they plan to participate in a massive wedding ceremony between many other gay and lesbian couples at the state Capitol Building in Olympia on Dec. 15.
“We’re on our honeymoon this week,” Alvarez said, noting they met three years ago at Grays Harbor College, where they both work.
They’re still debating what their last names will be after everything becomes final in a few days.