Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Ready, Set, Married!

First comes love,
Then comes marriage,
Then comes baby in a baby carriage!

... oh, right. How about this one:

First comes love,
Then comes baby,
Then comes marriage in a state-sanctioned ceremony?

In general, Brian and I have tried to stay away from posting too much about political topics here, preferring instead to focus on adoption and how we're creating our family. But the events of this past weekend deserve at least a passing mention! Back in February, Brian wrote about how our governor signed a marriage equality bill into law, meaning that we might soon be able to get married. And this weekend, on December 9, 2012, we did just that!

We got married!
Taking a step back, I should say that marriage equality has been quite the journey in Washington state. After our legislature passed the law and the governor signed it in February, a signature drive ensured that the law would actually go up for a popular vote in the November election. The ensuing months were nerve-wracking, especially since no marriage equality measures in the US had ever passed in a vote before. But after an unprecedented amount of success on November 6, we finally had an answer: our home state was ready to recognize that our relationship is just as valid as any other!

Laws passed by referenda in Washington take effect 30 days after the election, so marriage equality became official on December 6. And so down we went to the King County Administrative Building to get our licenses, just about as soon as we could! They opened at 12:01am that morning, and stayed open until 6:30pm - the previous record of 212 licenses issued in a day was already shattered in the first three hours. All told, there were 489 couples issued a license that first day. Amazing!

We wanted to try to avoid the rush, especially since we had to take care of Dominic, so we waited until after he woke us up for a 3am feeding to go downtown. My mom stayed and watched him while we left, and around 3:45 we were couple number 243 in line:

They still gave us a number, even though
there was almost no line at 3:45am.
By this time of the morning, the midnight rush had all but dissipated, and there were only 5 or 6 couples ahead of us in line. We whisked right through it, and before we knew it had a marriage license!

Brian was tired, but waited patiently.

Mission Accomplished!
Despite the thinning out of the crowd, King County Executive Dow Constantine was still there after 4 hours, signing personalized commemorative marriage licenses for any couple who wanted one. And as a symbolic gesture, he was using the same pen that Governor Christine Gregoire used to sign the marriage equality bill into law. I'm still astounded at the level of support from our elected officials; this was just the first of many examples.

Marriage license signed by King County Executive Dow Constantine.
After getting the license, Washington has a mandatory 3-day waiting period for all couples. The first day for weddings, therefore, was December 9, 2012. City Hall had pulled together an all-volunteer wedding day, free for any couple who wanted to come and get married; and somehow, Brian and I managed to RSVP quickly enough to get a spot! We were one of 142 couples scheduled to marry on that first day in Seattle City Hall. Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn was on hand, greeting couples as they entered:

With Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, just before our wedding
And how wonderful to have Dominic join us!

Two grooms and a baby!
All the judges were donating their time too.
Brian and I have an absolutely wonderful set of family and friends, and we were pleased to have a small group join us for the ceremony. My parents were able to be there, as well as a couple friends who were in our original wedding party two years ago. And of course Dominic was there, and his birth mom Carly came up from Tacoma to join in the festivities as well.

What a wonderful, joy-filled day. Getting married ourselves was exciting, of course, but seeing so many happy couples everywhere was one of the most heart-warming feelings ever. Every few minutes there'd be a fresh round of cheers from some new couple getting married, just adding to the joy.

As we left City Hall, we got to make an exit down the grand staircase to a crowd of cheering people - talk about surreal! Dominic made the trek with us, and it was captured by a few different folks:

Photo by Matt Stopera for BuzzFeed
Photo by Matt Stopera for BuzzFeed
I love watching all the happy couples come down the stairs!
We're at about the 1:35 mark.

So now we're an "official" family! Brian and I have considered ourselves a married couple since our wedding in July 2010, but it's still an absolutely momentous day when the state recognizes us as the same. Congrats to all the other happy couples as well!

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations and thanks for making me cry while at work! Luckily I have a little semi-private area where I work and I could tear up in peace! :-D