Twenty-nine years of waiting ended Sunday afternoon for Randi Winter and Lindsey Pattin of Port Townsend, married Sunday afternoon at Kirkland's Northlake Unitarian Universalist Church on the first day that gay couples could legally wed in Washington state.
"I never expected in my life to marry her," Pattin said after she and Winter became one of seven same-gender couples to to be married at the church. "I'm 71. This is huge, and it's more than just for us."
Both Pattin and Winter said one of the biggest feelings they shared on their wedding day was gratitude. "It's big in my mind," said Winter. "Congratulations to the voters of Washington!"
In all, seven gay couples were married on Sunday at Northlake Unitarian, a congregation that worked long and hard for passage of Referendum 74, approved by voters on Nov. 6. The law took effect on Dec. 6, the first day marriage licenses could be issued to same-gender couples, and Sunday was the first day they could legally wed, due to the state's required three-day waiting period.
Northlake invited gay couples to wed in three ceremonies on that first day as a way to celebrate their right to do so. Also, a heterosexual couple renewed their vows, in honor of their daughter, who plans to marry this summer.
"I am so excited," the Rev. Marian Stewart, pastor of the congregation, said before the first ceremony. "To be able to marry couples who have waited decades—you can feel the energy. I've cried so much this week!"
Plenty of tears were shed during the ceremony, by some of the participants and others in the church. The happiness and unbridled joy of the three couples was palpable. When the Rev. Stewart pronounced Pattin and Winter married, Pattin extended her arms skyward joyously and did a little jig.
And yet, Pattin and Winter said their fears remain, since the United States Supreme Court announced Friday it would review two cases, from California and New York, regarding same-sex marriage.
"I'm just hoping they don't take it away," said Pattin. "I'm hoping they won't say it's a religious issue; it's a civil rights issue."
That possibility seemed distant as the Rev. Stewart began the ceremonies. "I hope from this day forward it will just be marriage, without the adjectives," she said. "The people have voted, and love has won."
Mayor Joan McBride attended the first ceremony and said afterward: "This is a great day for Kirkland. Kirkland loves commitment."
Randi Winter's sister also married in the first ceremony. The other two couples were Karen Winter and Irene Reed and Patty Harrold and Sally Friedman. Please see the attached gallery for photos of the ceremony.
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