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First gay couples marry In Washington State

Same-sex couples begin marrying across Washington in many public ceremonies that in which crowds celebrated and cheered the newly weds
Deb Needham and Nancy Monahan were amongst the first of the couples to be publicly wed in Seattle.
Victoria Shaffer

Well over a hundred of same-sex couples celebrated their marriages in front of Seattle city hall for during the first day they could marry in Washington State, USA.

The gay marriage law came into effect on Sunday (9 December) after the state's voter-approved gay marriage law in a referendum last month.

Seattle city hall arranged a large public event with 159 couples taking part in celebrating their same-sex marriages.

City hall was reported as having had set up five chapels to for the celebrants and started to marry couples from 10 am to 5 pm.

Newly wed couples received applause and were cheered with shouts of ‘congratulations’ and flowers as the descended a large staircase to the street below.

Deb Needham, a member of the board of Equal Rights Washington retired and Coast Guard officer and Nancy Monahan were amongst the first of the couples to be publicly wed in Seattle.

The couple, who was married by Judge Linda Portway, stated that they waited 13 years and 352 days for this moment.

Photographer Victoria Shaffer who documented the event told Gay Star News that it was ‘such a happy day for so many people - there was hardly a dry eye in the crowd this morning’.

Hundreds of gay and lesbian couples picked up their marriage licenses as early as 00:01 am Thursday, but because of the state's three-day waiting period, the earliest weddings could only take place after midnight, early Sunday morning.

In King County, home to Seattle, over 600 same-sex marriage licenses were issued by Saturday.

Countless public same-sex marriage ceremonies took part throughout Washington State.

Writing on the Huffington Post blog, Washington State governor, Chris Gregoire stated: ‘We have few occasions in life to be witness to extraordinary history. This is one of those days.

‘Today same-sex couples in Washington are getting married under a law approved by the voters.

'For the first time in the United States, their marriage is legal not because of actions by legislatures or courts but because their equal rights were affirmed by their peers across the state at the ballot box.

‘That shift is momentous and one of which I am incredibly proud’.

Last month, Washington, Maine and Maryland became the first states to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote.

Six other US states have already enacted marriage equality, including: New York, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and the Federal District of Columbia (Washington DC).

More photos by Victoria Shaffer can be seen here:

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