Washington's gay marriage law takes effect tomorrow - WFXG FOX 54 - News Now

Washington's gay marriage law takes effect tomorrow

VANCOUVER, WA (KPTV) -

On Thursday, for the first time, the Clark County Auditor's Office in Vancouver will start handing out marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Washington voters approved gay marriage in November and the law goes into effect Thursday.

There is a state-mandated three-day waiting period, so the first, legal same-sex marriage ceremonies in Washington won't take place until Sunday, Dec. 9. That waiting period applies to heterosexual marriages too.

The Auditor's office is expecting long lines. It will open as usual at 8 a.m. Thursday, but will stay open late, until 7 p.m. on both Thursday and Friday. 

The office will also open this Saturday to accommodate couples who want marriage licenses.

It will be an historic day in Washington.  

It's also likely that Paul Harris and his partner James Griener will be the first to get their marriage license tomorrow in Clark County. 

Harris works in the Auditor's office, and it's his job to issue marriage licenses. He could never issue one for himself and his partner of 40 years, but that changes tomorrow. 

He told FOX 12 what this means to him.

"That piece of paper is a sense of validation, that I am not part of a fringe of society. I am being recognized as a main part of society," he said.

Voters in Maine and Maryland also approved same sex marriage in November.  Six other states  allow gay marriage.

Copyright 2012 KPTV (Meredith Corporation.) All rights reserved.

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