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County Prepares to Issue Hundreds of Marriage Licenses to Same-Sex Couples

Licenses will be issued at the King County Administration Building from 12:01 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

It's a day that hundreds of local couples have been anticipating for quite some time.

And it's going to be a long one.

People have been invited to begin lining up for marriage licenses outside the King County Administration Building in downtown Seattle at 10 p.m. tonight, two hours before gay marriage becomes legal in the state of Washington. At 12:01 a.m. Thursday, the county's first 10 licenses will be issued in a special ceremony with Executive Dow Constantine in the county recorder's office.

Hundreds of same-sex couples are expected to receive licenses in King County on Thursday, and officials and volunteers are working around the clock to get as many people as possible through the line tomorrow.

"We'll start at 12:01, and we will not close until 6:30 p.m. tomorrow," King County Communications Manager Cameron Satterfield said during a media preview event on Wednesday morning. "It'll be a busy place."

About 500 people will be able to stand in line at one time, and Satterfield said the county expects to issue licenses at at least a few hundred couples. 

The process will get somewhat complex at the 40-year-old administration building, which has never handled an event of this magnitude before, Satterfield said. About 180 volunteers will be on hand to help people sort through the chaos.

Couples will wait under heated tents in an outdoor plaza before invited inside in groups of 20 people to take an elevator up to the licensing annex, where licenses will be issued 10 at a time in a process that is expected to take 10 or 15 minutes.

At 12:01 a.m., a group of 10 couples selected by area LGBT organizations will participate in a special ceremony with County Executive Dow Constantine. Bellevue couple Neil Hoyt and Donald Glenn Jenny will be among the first people receiving licenses.

“After 23 years of being ‘just roommates’ according to the law, our relationship will be considered worthy by the state," Hoyt said in a news release issued by King County. "It will be exciting to be legal, finally, with the only man I’ve ever loved.”

After an 18-hour day spent issuing licenses on Thursday, King County will be open an extra two hours on Friday and hold special hours on Saturday to accomodate as many couples as possible. 

All couples in Washington must wait three days before exchanging vows, making Sunday, Dec. 9, the first day same-sex couples can legally get married.

Patch will be at the administration building tonight to cover the historic occasion. Check back later tonight and early Thursday morning for updates.

You can also follow King County on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to see photos and get updates.

Jason F. December 06, 2012 at 12:43 PM
It's unfortunate we celebrate the destruction of the family unit. God help us all.
Solveig Whittle December 06, 2012 at 03:09 PM
Witness the sanction of that many more strong family units. Follow a curated social media stream from the hashtag #MEDayWA at Story here: http://storify.com/kingcountywa/marriage-equality-in-king-county

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