Same-sex couples can marry Thursday EVERETT - Snohomish County is ready for same-sex couples to get married come Thursday, Dec. 6.
The county auditor’s office changed its marriage license applications to be gender neutral months before voters approved Referendum 74 upholding Gov. Chris Gregoire’s legalization of same-sex marriage, county auditor Carolyn Weikel said.
“We realized it should be changed regardless of the election,” Weikel said.
Marriage certificates come from the state Department of Health. The Department of Health is considering having the certificates list “Spouse A” and “Spouse B”, department spokesman Tim Church said. The department is considering breaking the spouses down by gender to help break out same-sex marriages. Health has to have their forms finalized by Dec. 6; the forms currently state “bride” and “groom.”
The auditor’s office will have extra registrars available the first day same-sex couples can marry. The counter also won’t close for lunch like usual. The registration counter is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the first floor of the Robert Drewel Building, 3000 Rockefeller Ave.
“We do anticipate quite a few couples that day, but not the volume of King County,” Weikel said. The office has no predictions how many more couples will marry with same-sex marriage legalization.
The registration line is first-come, first-serve, county recorder Garth Fell said. The auditor’s office has received about a dozen calls about the change, Fell said.
About a dozen couples register to get married each day, Fell said. The auditor’s office received 4,000 marriage license applications last year.
The auditor’s office is aware some couples might try to get married Dec. 12 – 12/12/2012 – but doesn’t know how many people might try to mark the special date.
All couples must wait three days after their application until the marriage is authorized. What about domestic partnerships?
Same-sex couples who are in a domestic partnership must convert it to a marriage or dissolve the relationship by June 30, 2014 or the state will change the partnership to a marriage automatically. Senior couples, including same-sex senior couples, who are in a domestic partnership to protect their financial assets are excluded from the deadline.
There are more than 9,000 domestic partnerships registered in this state, according to the Secretary of State’s office. Domestic partnerships were legalized in Washington in 2007.
People who have questions can call the auditor’s office at 360-388-3483. The auditor’s office also has a website with frequently asked questions about marriage applications online.