They were just waiting for the clock to strike the hour ! Same-sex couples in Washington state have started after the state's gay marriage law took effect. Gay and lesbian couples had started getting their marriage licenses starting 12:01 am on Thursday, but due to the 3-day waiting period, the earliest weddings could take place was after 12.00 midnight.
Some courts in King and Thurston Counties, opened right at midnight and helped the legal formalities for marrying couples. The Seattle City Hall opened on Sunday at 10 am, and several local judges were in attendance to marry couples there. At the Thurston County court, five couples were married.
Last month, Washington, Maine and Maryland became the first states to ratify same-sex marriage, joining six others with such laws already in place - New York, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and the District of Columbia.
Nearly 54 % voters approved the measure in a referendum that had asked voters to either approve or reject the law legalizing same-sex marriages. The law doesn't ask churches to perform marriages, and it doesn't subject churches to penalties if they don't marry such couples. But married same-sex couples will have no access to federal pensions, health insurance and other government benefits available to heterosexual couples.The U.S. Supreme Court is to take up the issue of gay marriages in near future.